l'armonia e la leggerezza - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-08-2009, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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l'armonia e la leggerezza

This translates to 'harmony and lightness.' These two ideas are something I always have in the front of my mind when working with my horse. But to me, it doesn't just mean harmony and lightness in my techniques....it also means, to me, feeling harmony inside myself and staying in the moment and not living in the past, and being light at heart and having a sense of play.

So to bring a sense of positvity to the NH section of the forum, what does harmony and lightness mean to you (in your horsemanship and in yourself) and what are some examples of harmony and lightness you have experienced?

In the words of Karen Rohlf, one of my Dressage mentors, translated into Italian, "Mai sottovalutare il potenziale per l'armonia e leggerezza per migliorare in modo non si puņ ancora immaginare!" Which means "Never underestimate the potential for harmony and lightness to improve in ways you cannot yet imagine!"
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-08-2009, 10:18 PM
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First of all, great thread! I think so many people get tense or stressed, and that definitely carries over into their riding and when they work with their horses. To me, lightness in my riding and 'horse time' is keeping a positive attitude and not letting negativity get the best of me. If you think "oh, well my horse hasn't ever done this right when I ask so he's going to mess up again," chances are it'll be harder for the two of you to really excel because you have such a closed mind and aren't as open to mistakes in YOURSELF. On the other hand, if you think, "My horse didn't do what I asked the last time, but we're going to work on this and learn from our mistakes" and look at your own skills/riding as a potential problem, you'll probably improve more rapidly. Harmony, to me, is when me and Thumper really have a good day, where we're both on top of our game and you can really sense the 'togetherness'. When we're both so finely tuned that we could sense the slightest change in each others' moods. To me, that's harmony. It has nothing to do with how MUCH we accomplish, and all to do with HOW we accomplish it, what happens as we work towards it, and our mindsets.

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post #3 of 5 Old 12-08-2009, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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I LOVE when you said "It has nothing to do with how MUCH we accomplish, and all to do with HOW we accomplish it..." that is SO true!
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-09-2009, 05:13 PM
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I maybe have a more "classical" (for lack of a better term right now) understanding of lightness and harmony.

I suppose to me harmony and lightness is something that I strive for in my "Scout and Me" time. I cue him as gently as possible and as firmly as necessary, and he responds with the level of lightness that he's willing to give to me that day. Harmony results from the "sharing" of the "maxed" lightness.

Lightness and harmony are works in progress, as well, for horses and riders. Novice riders and trainers generally haven't built up the experience and feel to maximize their lightness, so the horse can't maximize his yet. Green horses don't understand yet how to give, and can't reciprocate an experienced trainer's lightness until that lesson is learned. Lightness and harmony are things to always strive for and work toward, but I think that relatively few horse/rider teams have achieved it in the grand scheme of things. I know I haven't yet.

I remember one lesson, back in my WP days, I rode a 13.2 hand paint pony mare, and we were both "on" that day. I had her loping (true 3 beat, but beautifully slow and smooth), draped rein, her face soft and on the vertical, poll just over wither height. We did sort of a reining-style "lope U-shape, stop, back, rollback, lope depart, repeat at other "branch" of the U" pattern. That was a really harmonious ride that really made an impression on me on how light and soft horse and rider both should be. I hope that Scout and I can replicate that same kind of ride someday.

Good topic, Spirithorse! I look forward to reading more responses!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-09-2009, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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I remember one ride I had on Arie recently. We are always "on" in our sessions, I make sure of it with our preparation, but this day we were really "on" and we warmed up (in the saddle) with Freestyle exercises....Arie was micromanaged a lot in his "past life" and was never really allowed to express himself, so Freestyle is something that came hard to him, but he "got it" and we ended up w/t/c and backing up without me ever touching my reins, we were turning and doing circles and changes of direction and he was so light to all my aides. When I finally picked him up with my reins and did some light Finesse work, we did lengthening at trot and canter and he came right back to me with just me relaxing my energy. He was so light in my hands and very forward, something that he used to not have in his vocabulary! lol. He had true impulsion that day, in a more advanced form. It was awesome! :)
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