Spirits in Unity Column 11 and introduction by Garry “Horsetalker” Meek

CFN – This Column of “Spirits in Unity” is being published by CFN for the community of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry. It is an honour to have you as a reader. I welcome any comments, questions or topics you would like me to discuss. I hope you enjoy reading about the wonderful world of horses and the impact that natural horsemanship can have in making it a better world for both horses and humans.

Horse Whisperers Invade Upper Canada Village
When a human learns to set aside their natural predatory instincts and begins to act like a prey animal (a Horse) and a horse learns to trust the human and begin to act like a partner, then you have the beginnings of two “Spirits in Unity”.

In the beginning of human history the ultimate predator (us) and the ultimate prey animal (the horse) were adversaries. But then something miraculous happened. Nature’s instincts stepped aside and made way for a very special relationship to occur. There is evidence that very early on in human history we were playing with horses at liberty, riding without bits, stirrups or bridles as a matter of course. Humans were in true unity with the horse in both body and ‘Spirit’.

Along the way we lost that special relationship, but now, thanks to many great horsemen and women we have the opportunity of rekindling that ancient and miraculous relationship with the horse.

Horses can become our equals in passion ….. Our equals in ‘Spirit’. We can regain that intimate partnership.

An unknown source said, “To abandon oneself in the dance with a horse is to touch the infinite.” Today the essence of horsemanship has once again become about the relationship. So why do so many people still insist on using fear, intimidation and punishment with these wonderful animals who so much want to please us.

The first recorded natural horsemanship manual was written in 1360 BC. The author, points out in his writings, “Would you put whip to a beautiful dancer to make them dance more beautifully?”

“Spirits in Unity” is a horse show dedicated to that special dance between horse and man.

Over 50 natural horsemanship enthusiasts will descend upon Upper Canada Village from Aug. 24 to 26 for Horse Lovers’ Weekend, a unique showcase of the world of horses. These ‘horse whisperers’ will present to visitors this most beautiful dance between horse and man in a series of demonstrations, games and performances.

The participants include The Young Horse Whisperers of Drogheda Manor Horsemanship, The Rigaud Natural Horsemanship Club from Quebec, Veronique Roberts and her special partner Jordan, local horsemen Ron Barker, Garry Meek, and many others. They will introduce to visitors the wonderful world of natural horsemanship.

The Young Horse Whisperers are a unique group of young people who are members of the ‘Spirits in Unity’ program at Drogheda Manor Horsemanship. This is one of the very few programs that teaches children how to become horse teachers. Each of the students has become a special positive influence on the 14 horses that they will be using at the show.

The ’Spirits in Unity’ tour show is both captivating, educational and inspirational. Once you have seen these natural horsemanship enthusiasts playing with their horses and learn some of the fascinating things unique to horses, you will probably never look at horses in the same light ever again.

Each day the show will highlight several non-competitive, but nevertheless challenging events designed to show how much fun it can be to play with horses. The key element is that everything is about play. Events run from 9 AM to 5 PM at the village fairgrounds and will include The On-line and Liberty Challenge, The Freestyle Riding Challenge, The Parade of Horses, The Savvy Spotlight, Horsetalker’s Challenge, Free horseback rides and more.

In the On-Line and Liberty event handlers navigate a series of obstacles first with lines and then without any lines attached. The test of each horseman’s skill is to see if they can maintain the connection with their horse without being physically connected to them.

The Freestyle Riding Challenge event includes many forms of riding from bareback to bridleless.

The Savvy Spotlight features selected individuals and their horses performing special tricks or skills including Roman Riding, Gymnastics on Horses, (have you ever played leapfrog with a horse?), bareback jumping, and much more.

Horsetalker’s Challenge is a special event this year in which local horsemen Garry ‘Horsetalker’ Meek and Ron Barker will try to complete the final phase of a program designed to restart older and previously untrained horses. Their ultimate goal will be to see if they can ride these newly trained horses and navigate the obstacle course calmly and confidently.

The “Spirits in Unity” show promises to be a horse show like you have never seen before, a show where you will see happy horses playing happily with happy humans. This show is not choreographed in any way so each day’s performance is completely different. We hope to see you there. You can check out further details on the Upper Canada Village website.

In our ‘Spirits in Unity’ program we believe in developing a trusting relationship and a true partnership with a horse before even thinking about getting on his back. He probably prefers it that way too.

If you are interested in learning about our Spirits in Unity Tour for 2012 or what other people interested in horse welfare are doing with natural horsemanship in our area you can become a member of The Eastern Ontario Natural Horsemanship Club at www.meetup.com . There is no charge to join.

Whether you are just a horse lover, have dreams of owning a horse someday, or already have one, I hope these columns will give you some insight into the true nature of these magnificent creatures. I hope you will find them both informative and inspirational.

May all your dreams come true,

Garry “Horsetalker” Meek

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