Archive for August, 2009

All About Learning Curves

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Our learning curve has been straight up for most of the summer, which has flown by at record speed.  It’s been busier than expected with one event clashing into the next.  It has taken its toll and we are cutting back and trying to put some semblance of sanity back into our world. 

With our busy schedule, it’s amazing that we got any breeding done at all.  But we’re pleased to announce that Wynona is pregnant to Pajon’s Royal Illusion after our first attempts at collecting and inseminating ourselves.  Our schedule just didn’t lend itself to diligence.  We sent Tamara down to Brent Seufert’s after Stampede to be bred to Sufri.  So with only two foals next year, we may be able to get on with other things.

The continuing drought and unpredictable weather has taken its toll as well.  Finding and buying hay this year is a scary experience.  Fortunately, we’ve been able to find some good sources and cut some expenses by picking up out of the field; however, we will still be offering a number of horses for sale over the fall.

The highlight for me for the summer was the privilege of attending back to back clinics with Josh Nichol at his home base Eagle Wing Ranch near Athabasca, Alberta.  I’ve known for a long time I had to get better with handling the horses, especially now that we have a breeding stallion who still has a performance career in front of him.  I first found out about Josh, by meeting his mom, Kathy, at Dan Martin’s place.  Since then, I’ve been watching Josh at various clinics alongside trade shows for two years now and have continued to be impressed with theories of horsemanship.  This young soft spoken cowboy has more wisdom and ability than someone triple his age. 

But what you see at a demo or clinic is nothing like participating in a 4 day clinic.  It’s a total family affair and vacation to participate in a clinic at the ranch.  Josh’s whole philosophy centres on a theory of softness and connectedness with our horses.  Self carriage begins on the ground.  All horses can become light, given the right aids, but softness is a step beyond where the aids only serve as reminders to the horse to carry himself, instead of supporting him or keeping him there.  Despite his years, Josh has apprenticed with some of the great horsemen/women of our time; his talent first being discovered by Dr. Deb Bennett.  Josh is outstanding at verbalizing and demonstrating his theories, so his methodology is not so much teaching a series of techniques to participants, but delivering a whole new way of viewing horsemanship and our interactions.