Contemporary Horsemanship Pursuits
The centaur portrays something significant about our horsemanship desires. That primal mythological being displays our metaphoric ideal; head, arms, and torso of horseman or horsewoman blending gracefully into the body and legs of horse; Equus sapien. Those who ride horses understand this conceit clearly; to be the horse, to become the horse. Sophisticated Thessalonian Greek tribesman imagined and mythologized this manhorse creature, a cultural reflection of their emotional and physical blending with the species. The centaur expresses pastoral man’s exalted and cherished association with the horse. The symbol defines the willing partnership many contemporary horsemen seek. This book is intended to encourage people to refine their relationship with horses.
Centaur passion is expressed today as natural horsemanship, a renewed manifestation of our desire to connect with horse in a willing and conciliatory partnership. More than ever, or ever in recent memory, people seek unity with their horses, partnerships based on understanding and trust rather than relationships that are a result of dominance or coercion. Horsemen hope their horse engages in their wishes happily and readily⎯dependably, consistently, and reliably⎯wherever and whenever they ride together. A willing partnership based on time, trust ,and understanding is a high hope indeed, but a hope that has reached its true promise in many horse/man pairings through time.
The ideal connection facilitates empowerment from the horse, a controlled extension of our selves, a naturally manifested power that can make one delirious. After a century of widening disconnection, America’s horse culture is attempting to renew and refine the relationship that has bonded mankind to horses for millennia. Horsemen continue to seek a connectivity of their minds to the horse’s body as horsemen always have.
The horsemanship ideal reigns in America as it has reigned through time: that the rider’s thought becomes the horse’s action, the centaur effect, control of the horse’s feet, becoming one with the horse. Modern horsemen report that horse/man relationships approach this ideal with regularity. The nature of the horse, however, is such that the regularity remains uncertain. The horse retains the power to have the last word in this language of horsemanship we explore. The horseman’s goal remains to have a say in all the horse’s actions. A resurgence of conciliatory training methods has emerged offering horsemen/women a trusting and reliable relationship with their horse that is not forced or coerced, a relationship based on mutual respect and understanding.