Clinicians often use the term “feel and timing”. The meaning of this term is a bit hard to grasp. Chris Cox defines it on his website as follows:
“Feel: Feel is applying the pressure you use to set boundaries with your horse and knowing when to release that pressure.”
Being with horses is based on knowledge, tools and techniques. These are all things that we can acquire fairly easily. The other big part is the ART of horsemanship and part of that is FEEL AND TIMING. It is very similar to having a canvas, a pallet, a brush, and an assortment of oil paints. Most of us can learn the craft of painting. It takes an artist to use these components to create a piece of ART. Developing and honing our skills allow us to develop as artists. The level of the art we can attain will depend, to some extent, on natural talent.
In a previous blog the subject of pressure was discussed. Because FEEL and pressure are directly related it is necessary to understand pressure. The more skilled we become in the art of horsemanship and the stronger our partnership is with our horse the finer the FEEL becomes. The pressure we use becomes extremely subtle.
FEEL begins within us. Be aware of everything you are doing and feeling. Be aware of your expression and posture. All of these things represent pressure and contribute to FEEl.
Timing is the coordination of the application and release of pressure with the response of the horse. Bad timing reduces the level of communication.
A very skilled horseman said that he could teach the craft of riding but that it was up to the rider and the horse to raise the craft to the level of art. Personally I will be happy to be a competent craftsman, but, I will never stop striving to improve my feel and timing to achieve the level of artist.