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.
What phrases or sayings inspire you? Tell me what you think-leave a comment!
The 5 Stages of Team Building in Horse-Rider Relationships (and how to get to the performing stage smoothly!)
Many a horsewoman experiences the frustration caused by a never ending, and never satisfied, expectation of perfection. It is common for performance horse riders to have high standards and expect nothing less than perfection from themselves and their horses.
In theory, that sounds like a good thing. Striving for perfection can help performance by being dedicated, by having a commitment to practice, by being focused and paying attention to the little details.
More commonly, however, perfectionism is perilous to performance. When a rider has placed so much pressure on themselves to perform perfectly, they become outcome focused. This leads to anxiety, and anxiety leads to not performing their best. When a perfectionist does not perform well, they tend to become extremely self-critical, leading to becoming overwhelmed and discouraged. This can lead to the rider wanting to quit, and not even try since they feel that they will not be able to perform at the perfect level they expect of themselves.
Read more of my blogs at