Now that I am back from this year’s Cowboy Dressage Educational Journey, I would like to reflect and share my thoughts and experiences during these wonderful 3 weeks in California. First of all…please readers, read this article to the end before pressing LIKE …I know its a bit long….
After a few days of City-feeling in SF I was already more than ready for some horse smell! The 2016 Cowboy Dressage World Gathering and Finals were – besides the Judging Boot Camp – my drive and goal for this trip.
Arriving in Rancho Murietta (a year after my last visit) felt different this time. It was a very warm welcoming (not just the weather!) ….and it felt more like going to a big family party. You actually feel the difference, when people are saying ‘Hi’ to you, to be friendly or they actually saying ‚Hi‘ to YOU, because they remember you and are happy to see you again! I think, that is part of the handshake philosophy…but there is something honest and natural in the smiles and in the way of this group of people.
This atmosphere was actually noticeable during the whole event. Everybody there, riders, competitors, horsemen and horsewomen seemed to be getting along great…not just with each other but also with their 4 legged partners, their horses! During these Cowboy Dressage Events you can see the brightest smiles when people are on or with their horses. In the show ring, during the tests – believe me – I have seen it for real, from the best perspective, sitting at the judges’ table as a ‘scribe’ !
I have noticed, that riders are more emphatic, forgiving with their horses. They give the horses a chance, they guide them through the court like dance partners .
This to me is good leadership, which is good horsemanship. Many times, I have seen riders laughing out loud, when they made a mistake (for example turning left instead of right ;-)). I have
even seen them laughing when the judge was ringing the bell (this doesn’t happen often, only when a team goes off course) and at the same time saying to their horse: “I am sorry- my mistake !”.
Then they carried on riding with a smile. This is what I love so much about Cowboy Dressage and this is why I hope and wish, that we can transfer this spirit to Europe.
I am sure we can and will !
Having worked as a horse trainer and teacher for almost 20 years, I have experienced that people with the same attitude and focusing always find each other. This is why I am so enthusiastic about it!
Cowboy Dressage brings out the best in people – and therefore the best in horses.
It’s not about winning, Its not about showing (off), Its not about collecting a title or a medal (even though there were some great prices to win wink emoticon;-)! )
It’s about having fun, giving your best, wanting to become and to be a better horse person, knowing that this is never ending learning process. It’s about letting your horse shine from the inside out!
The main aspects in Cowboy Dressage – the BIG 3 – are: Soft Feel , Lightness, Harmony & Partnership – You interact with your horse through kindness and empathy. You care for your horse and help it – the best you can to develop as a riding horse. This is the message that comes across from most of the riders at the Cowboy Dressage Gathering!
It’s time to say a big THANK YOU to the man who started it all, the Master of Soft Feel……Thank you Eitan Beth-Halachmy, for being brave enough to let us all be involved and be part of your ‚Baby‘ Cowboy Dressage…
Watching 8 at this big Show, how he was observing every single ride in the big arena, watchful and alert, I could see and feel his body language, almost like a horse, when he was happy with the rides.
I sometimes wondered what he was thinking when he was observing critically and storing those images, being aware of necessary changes and improvements.
Cowboy Dressage has happened to us, and it’s still a very young discipline….so yes, some things will change and develop as they go on.
Now it’s not just Eitan’s private thing anymore. With the Handshake Code we all are engaged and involved in this wonderful discipline, a way of true horsemanship. Now it is also in our hands – teachers, trainers, ambassadors, judges and riders – to lead Cowboy Dressage on its successful track, in a positive and horse friendly way! The spirit of Cowboy Dressage will go around the world!
Also Thank you to Debbie Beth-Halachmy. You are the ‚Spirit‘ of CD, holding everything together! Along with Eitan, you are our inspiration!
Thanks to Wyatt Paxton, who represents the Handshake Person’, and always offers help, when needed! Kelsey Morris, for doing an incredible job during the Event that we highly appreciate.
Thank you to the great judges I was sitting and scribing with at the Finals: Martina Bone, Lynn MC. Enespy, Nonny Largent. I had so much fun and learned a lot. Thx to Sara Uhalde, who wrote a very need and helping ‚Scribe Guideline’, it helped to be prepared for the job!
Thanks to Lyn Ringrose-Moe, Garn Walker, Dr. Robert Miller and the others who gave very usefull lectures on the free education clinic.
Big thanks to the Grimmets: Dan Grimmet and Jenny Grimmet for the fun performance at the Talent Show Sunday evening. I am still laughing, thinking about it. wink emoticon;-) What a Show! Big Thanks to all who were part of this successful Show and did not get named here.
Big thanks to Lyn Ringrose-Moe, for a great Judging Boot Camp. As an expert, she was handing over her knowledge, leading us through the principals and guidelines of Cowboy Dressage, preparing us for the future direction and goals of the Disciplin, which is scored with emphases on lightness, harmony, finesse and partnership as a priority. I feel like I gained more confidence and insight in CD.
Also thx to the whole Gang at the Boot Camp for being a great team, for sharing and learning and having fun together: Tanja Kraus, Lesley Deutsch, Niki GibbsWilde, Judy Johnson, Sara Uhalde, Dale Rumens-Partee, I wish we would have done more YOGA together! wink emoticon;-)
And last but not least, I want to thank Ralf, for pushing me to go (September is a very busy riding time and I hesitated to leave my business) He was curious and interested enough to come and see this Event with his own eyes. Thank you, you were a big part of my wonderful 2016 Cowboy Dressage Journey!
xxx Sabina Sigl/Sept. 2016