Jeff Foster Equine ~ California

Years ago I saddled up my grey gelding and rode him from California to New York. The trip took a year and a day and was over 3000 miles. The “old timers” were right. It was a great way of life, hard but great. It was myself, my horse, a stray dog and the land and that was all I wanted or needed. Many years passed and the trip was a great memory.

When I was shoeing horses I would always say "no foot, no horse" and that is an accurate statement. The very same holds true for working a horse. To ride a horse means to communicate what you are asking to his feet. The reins are extensions to his feet as is the saddle, your body and   whatever you have in his mouth or on his face . There is an often used quote said by many that "Where the feet go the rest of the horse will follow"! Very true and folks it is in the feet, get to the feet !

There is no better place to start than at the beginning. There is no better place to return to than the beginning. It works ! The horse did not ask to be invited into our world, we insisted he be in it. We should pay heed to that and have patience and understanding. There is a time to be firm and a time to release. I have no desire to fight with 1000 lbs of horse, I would rather reach an understanding with him having him think it was his decision.

Long before clinics were the clinics we see today, I had my education for the wages of $100 a month at times. Well before dawn and long after sunset was a typical day. There were no videos, no dedicated TV station, no short cuts or gimmicks. Observation, patience, experience, the horses and the folks who rode them for a living were my teachers. One really had to learn by seeing and observing. We can understand why a horse needs to yield, bend and learn where to put their feet. The horse knows what to do we have to know how to ask.

I have learned by doing and listening to horsemen at every chance I 've had. Horses are a way of life for me.



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