Fall has come to Kentucky and this usually means it’s no longer too hot to think about riding big beautiful equines out under a cloudless sky. The air has freshened up and there’s a renewed bounce in the haunches of my horse buddies, sometimes welcomed, sometimes not, lol. Not looking for the bucking fest, just a nice fluid movement from back to front.
Here I’ll draw it for you:
I leanred better how to recognize a fluid, balanced happy horse through a marvelous learning opportunity this past weekend.
I attended a three day horsemanship clinic in a chilly arena entitled “The Outward Spiral to Success”. The concepts were fine tuned and taught by the founder of “Dressage, Naturally”, Karen Rohlf. Since she’s one of the favorite teachers of my own favorite trainer, Shelby Hume, I was keen to observe her instruction in action. As a relative newbie to the world of horses and horsemanship I am still challenged to see the subtleties within the realm of what constitues excellence in riding and monkeying around with horses in a more fluid style than I might otherwise do on my own. As Karen worked with each horse and human team – al at various levels in their journeys together – I was able to start to pick up on some of the core concepts of the D,N approach.
Training the Eye
I keep hands-on trying with my own horse-boys and attending these clinics; sometimes as an ‘auditor’ sometimes as a rider and as time passes I am picking things up. A couple of years ago I would have been hard pressed to notice the subtle shifts in a horse that’s coming into better balance – but now I know what to look for. It’s not like they’re stumbling around bumping into things (though I suppose in a worst case this could even be true), but horses that find themselves more balanced get more flowy in their movement. They also tend to lower their heads naturally and sort of glide along no matter what the gait is.
Learning to help create this in a horse and knowing how to shape and see it – is all beneficial to expanding my ways of seeing as an artist.
I also took some photos with my phone – because you may have discovered I’m an Instagram addict these days – maybe you are too – so here’s 4 images from the weekend that inspired me:
Taking it Back into the Studio
So while I was learning about horses and horsemanship in fact I was also capturing information to bring back to the studio in the form of some new paintings. Playing with Instagram is teaching me to compose within a squared off framework, and I intend to make some paintings using these photographic studies as my guide. As a representation of the mythic in relationship, horses are an exquisite subject matter. That I get to learn and play with some is nothing short of a miracle.