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Horse Do  ~Steve McClure (Reno)

Years back a lady that I knew at Sun Fire Stables asked me to “look after her horse.” She was going to undergo shoulder surgery and would be out of commission for most of the winter. I agreed and promised to put the horse in question in “my rotation.” She wanted to pay me but I deferred since I do not do it for hire, it’s not my facility and I was glad to do what I could for a friend. She’s a fine horsewomen with years of experience and I was, quite frankly, pleased that she trusted me to look after the animal. In our conversation, she told me that her horse needs a “strong man’s hand” so I was semi-qualified.

The horse in question was a young mare and any work/training at this age will likely shape a lot of her behaviors into the future. I watched this same animal two years ago work for the first time with cattle at one of Steve’s clinics. She and her owner were a natural. I never saw a horse and rider take so quickly to cattle. The horse was well muscled, coordinated and smart as a whip. We did a lot of ground work as well in the saddle. This mare had a penchant for tossing her head so we worked on that. I normally learn as much or more from the training than I think the animal does and anyone who knows me knows that I believe in small steps and building on basic foundations. I worked her with my rope and eventually was able to throw a loop horseback. I enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from that little mare.

One weekend the owner made an appointment with her farrier. I promised that I would ride the horse first, then bring her in and hold her since the owner was still on restrictions due to her surgery. The farrier commented several times how much better the horse stood than in previous sessions and mentioned that I must be responsible for the change. She asked if I followed natural horsemanship and what particular method I used. I had no formal answer and was decidedly unaccustomed to being singled out for my equine knowledge so I told her that all I used were the methods taught to me by my equine mentor, Jennifer Gaudes Raemisch.

Believe me I know that the farrier was just being kind and trying to please a customer. As they say “don’t try to sell a salesman.”

If you read these blogs you know (and probably tired of hearing) that I am a martial artist and, as such, I am required to honor those who show me the way. One of the martial arts I teach is Aikido (eye-key-doe) which in Japanese means “the way of harmony”, the "do" meaning "way of." It felt good that I had found "the way" to hopefully help the horse, do a favor for a friend and acknowledge my indebtedness to those who teach me.  In this way, all benefit. That is harmony (aiki) in its truest sense.

~Steve McClure (Reno)

To read more by Steve McClure (Reno)--see below.

Insights by Steve -- McCarty

Insights by Steve -- Horse Geology?

Insights by Steve -- Working Together

Insights by Steve -- The Circle

Insights by Steve -- Natural Horseman

Insights by Steve -- I Can't

Insights by Steve -- Saddle Tracks

Insights by Steve -- Harmony and Horsemanship

Insights by Steve -- Sherwin

Insights by Steve -- Hobbling

Insights By Steve -- Roping Practice

Insights By Steve -- Support

Insights By Steve -- Sensei

Insights by Steve - Harmony

Insights by Steve-Centered in the Now