Internationally acclaimed horse trainer Mark Rashid shares and analyzes the remarkable events, quiet moments, and humbling stumbling blocks thatlooking backhe can identify as significant in his personal journey to finding “softness” with both horses and people. “Softness,” via what many in the horse world today might refer to as “feel,” begins, Rashid says, with one simple truth: “It’s not about what we do that starts us on the path to softness, but rather, it’s what we don’t do.” Softness is having the sensitivity we need in order to feel when and if the horse tries to “give.”It is about developing the kind of awareness and feel it takes to know when we are working against our horses, rather than with them. In these forthright stories, readers get a glimpse of a life that has produced a man known for his ability to solve difficult problems with communication rather than force, as well as methods and techniques gleaned from decades of work with horses, horse people, and the “way of harmony” through the martial arts.
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About the Author
Mark Rashid (pronounced RASH-id) is an internationally acclaimed horse trainer known for his ability to understand the horse’s point of view and solve difficult problems with communication rather than force. He began working with horses at age ten, when he met the “old man,” who taught him to work with horses, not against them, and to listen to what the horse is trying to say. Mark’s clinics center on one-on-one work with horse and rider and are immensely popular with people around the world.
When Mark decided to study the martial art of aikido as a way to improve his horsemanship, he brought the same quiet determination to it that he exhibits in his work with horses. After years of practice, he has earned a second degree black belt in Yoshinkan aikido and now teaches the “way of harmony” in the local dojo.
Mark worked full time on ranches for many years gathering herds, managing stock, and training horses. When time permits, he still enjoys working on ranches near his home in Estes Park, Colorado.
Mark has been a guest on NPR’s The Horse Show and was featured on the Nature series on PBS. He is the author of nine books - Considering the Horse, A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color; Horses Never Lie; Life Lessons from a Ranch Horse; Horsemanship Through Life; Big Horses, Good Dogs, & Straight Fences; A Life With Horses; Whole Heart, Whole Horse ; and his latest, a novel, Out of the Wild. He also has a solo music CD Song of the Prairie and enjoys singing and playing guitar with a local band The Elktones.
Skip Ewing lives in Nashville, TN.
Table of Contents
Foreword Skip Ewing ix
1 Powerful Softness 1
Softness from the Inside Out Angela Ewing 11
2 The Pull 13
Offering the Inside of Ourselves to Our Horses Shannon Brown 25
3 Internal Softness 33
Thoughts on Connection, Feel, and Softness Michelle Scully 53
4 Initial Contact 59
The Difference Between "Make" and "Help" Walter Josey 73
5 Friction 77
The More You Listen, the More You Hear Lee Cranney 93
6 Working the Edge 101
Cultivating Softness Lasell Jaretzki Bartlett 119
7 Simplicity 121
"Feel" Is a Verb Tim Harvey 131
8 Feel 139
Opening to Softness Crissi McDonald 149
9 Softness 155
Afterword: An Exercise in Softness 167