#33 Are you the Driver or the Mechanic?

Feb 09, 2022

I just finished up a learning-filled week in Lexington, Kentucky at Raising the Baar Horsemanship center, home of John, Kathy and Luke Baar. We're partnering up to bring you a 3-week virtual clinic called Raising the Baar Virtually- coming your way March 19-April 9, 2022. 

If you know John and Kathy, you probably already know how dedicated and passionate they are about horsemanship and sharing what they know with others. Getting a chance to spend a week in someone's world allows you to see "behind the curtain" so to speak. They are the real deal. Constantly thinking about how they could present things better to the horses and students they work with. Talking with each other over breakfast, lunch and dinner about their questions and observations. They make an impressive team and their hearts are completely in it.

One night we were digging into some of the concepts they'll be sharing in the clinic. If you haven't already figured this out, I ask a lot of questions 😂. Part of what I do in putting these clinics together requires that I get to know what each horsewoman and man believes- how they define the concepts they share. Often words like: leadership, feel, yield, and connection (to name a few) can have different meanings to each person. Understanding what they mean when they use these terms is part of my role, so I can help you understand it too. Hence... the questions 😆.

After dinner, we were exploring the concept of "Purity of Gait" which is one of the 5 categories they'll be sharing in the clinic- it's something that shows up throughout what they teach, so I knew I was going to need to understand what they meant by it.

In the conversation that resulted we ended up going down a few side roads to help define it. On one of those side roads, Kathy shared an analogy that helped me see what they were all about as horse developers. She said if you compare horse people to car people- there are great drivers and great mechanics. Drivers understand the intricacies of the feel and timing it takes to direct the car: steering, brakes, gas... Mechanics have to be good or even great drivers, but they also have to know the meaning of the different signs that can come up- smoke, heat in places it shouldn't be, smells that shouldn't be there, odd sounds, etc. They know what these different clues mean and how to go about fixing them. Or at least a good starting place.

In the horse world- there are some amazing drivers (riders)- amazing!! They are able to do things with their bodies and communicate things to the horse to result in spectacular movements but when things break down they often are at a loss of what to do to fix them.

That's where people like John and Kathy come in. So in this clinic, they're going to help us see what they see as "mechanics" aka horse developers. How the little things our horses show us on the ground can show up in the saddle. How things in the saddle can be improved by having a better understanding of how everything is related.

The other thing I love about what we filmed while I was there is, they used their own horses, but most of the teaching videos are shown with horses they have in training. Horses with particular issues or ones who are new to many of the things being shown.

Here's a short clip of Kathy playing with Caesar- a 10+ year old Appendix who is with them to be started for the first time. You'll get a chance to hear her note lots of things she's seeing that could show up in other places... the "mechanics" (horse developers) eye-view.  

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