Horsey Therapist

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Cadence, rhythm, and harmony

My Oxford American Dictionary says cadence (first definition) is rhythm in sound. It says rhythm (second definition) is a movement with a regular succession of strong and weak elements. It says harmony (fourth definition) is agreement.

Today during the homeward section of my ride on Kacee, we practiced cadence, rhythm, and harmony, concordance. (I like the word concordance. Maybe because it incorporates 'dance'.)

Practicing cadence, rhythm, and harmony in the saddle stems from what I have started doing during our groundwork time, gleaned from Mark Rashid's work with my Sofia recently. In groundwork, I'm practicing setting the pace, the energy level, the direction, how it feels, all that good stuff. The cadence, rhythm, and harmony.

Directing the cadence from the saddle. I like the dictionary's references to music (definitions other than already referenced) -- for cadence, rhythm, and harmony. In fact I was verbalizing our cadence for the twenty minutes it took to get home. A rhythmic song whose repeating refrain was One Two Three Four One Two Three Four. I was a bit surprised how hard it was for me to keep the rhythm when Kacee wanted to listen to the beat of her own drummer, and how hard it was Kacee to follow my determinations. I really should not be surprised -- I have been telling her for years as long as she walks when I ask her to walk on our way back to the barn, she can walk as fast as she likes.

So I'm changing the rules and I was intent on helping her find out what this new thing was that I was asking of her. She found it.

Meanwhile what a great meditative chant I had going. I had to really focus on keeping the rhythm I set! It comes so easy for me to fall into synchronization with someone else. Not useful though when it comes to riding. It's part of the gentle leadership role as I understand it. I prefer the feel of a ride on a horse who is understanding what I want and willing to let go of her thoughts, trusting me to guide us both through the environment step by step, breath by breath. We found moments of this today despite the newness I introduced.


At 09 June, 2008 05:59, Blogger Pam said...

Great post, I'm learning and remembering so much from your work with your horses! You have a gift for being able to share what you learn each time in a way that others can relate to, or at least I can. I have the same problem with keeping my rhythm and its something I've been practising with mine this spring.

At 09 June, 2008 20:11, Blogger LJB said...

Thanks, Pam. Long ago I was told that my journey includes teaching by sharing my process. It used to be about the insights and changes related to family issues. Now it's more often related to my horse relationships. I am grateful that I have the courage -- most of the time -- to be out there with my musings, and certainly glad to hear it confirmed that it is helpful.


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