You don’t have to do much research about horsemanship to hear that it takes Feel, Timing, Balance and Experience to become a Horseman.
Of these words, Balance and Experience are pretty easy concepts to understand.
Timing is a little more complicated, but most riders can be taught the idea of the timing of their cues.
Feel, however, is much harder to define, and hard to teach. Feel is a vague word that is often used by trainers, clinicians, and instructors. Most of them agree that to become a True Horseman, you must develop feel.
It is a word surrounded by confusion, with the connotation of having an almost magical quality, leaving the reader confused and wondering if “feel” is some magical talent that only horse whisperers possess.
In this blog, I will examine different definitions of Feel. Some of these definitions come from Natural Horsemanship trainers/clinicians, and some from top Performance Horse trainers. I will look at the connection between Feel and Timing, take a quick look at Balance, and also at the role that Experience plays into developing Feel, Timing, and Balance.
Hopefully this will help clear the confusion around “Feel” and help you on your horsemanship journey.
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