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b Tr August 2012

b Tr August 2012

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Published by Sarah O'Brien

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Published by: Sarah O'Brien on Aug 14, 2012
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rocks made when lightning strikes the sand. About the 5thtime I stopped and got off topick up a rock, I noticed that Ididn't have to do anything tostop the horse, and he startedlooking around on the groundwith me. He stood when Imounted, he walked as if hewere looking for rocks as well.We were both so focused onthis that we lost the rest of theriders and neither one of uscared. I noticed he would givethe other riders a slight earflick, but his primary thoughtwas completely on our job.
...Continued on Page 2
Over the years, I have hadmany discussions with HarryWhitney about horse's primaryand secondary thoughts whilein a training setting. For in-stance, a horse can be fo-cused on a job like working acow, yet hear a noise and givethat noise an ear flick. Or youmay be working a horse atliberty in the round pen andthe horse will be tuned in withyour every step, eyes focusedon where they are going, yettheir ears might be moving around in different directionsas they keep track of the worldaround them in their second-ary thoughts. While out on atrail ride, a rider should havetheir horse's primary thoughtwith them on the trail, or atleast be able to call it back if the horse mentally leaves, with just a slight touch of the rein ora pat on the leg. One of the firsttimes I consciously becameaware of this was many yearsago when I was riding a verynervous Peruvian Paso out inthe desert in AZ. I decided tohunt for Fulgerites which are
Pony a Pony 
Primary vs. Secondary 
Shea Stewart 
This newsletter is an all-volunteer effort designedto reflect the horseman-ship approach taught byHarry Whitney. While Harrywill offer his thoughts andideas, he does not takepersonal responsibility forthe content of studentcontributions.
Editor’s Note
Between the Reins 
August 2012
Hello Friends of Harry!Between the Reins, the newsletter, has undergone a makeover!The newsletter will now be smaller and will be published on a monthly basis.Additionally, daily quotes and photos are available on our newsletter Facebookpage: facebook.com/betweenthereins.Thank you for your support!
Sarah O’Brien
This is a concept that I havebuilt my own horsemanshipon for many years. It hasbeen such a normal part of my horse handling that I real-ly didn't put much consciousthought into it. This was justa way of being.. When I usedto start horses for people, Iwould never get on themuntil they actually looked atme. Not through me like theydo when they look at peopleas giant grocery bags, butreally look at me when I callon their primary thought. Ilearned through the yearsthat once this moment hap-pened, it was a game chang-er in how the relationshipprogressed. We could workinteractively instead of mefeeling like I was pushing abody around. I focused onthis even with seasoned sad-dle horses who came in fortraining. This was always thefirst thing I worked on withevery horse who came in fortraining. That connection totheir primary thought.Over the past few years, mybusiness has evolved moreinto equine Cranio-Sacraltherapy, and teaching les-sons. And not so much taking on training horses. So I havefound myself trying to figureout how to connect with ahorse who is not connectedat all, in a very short amountof time.pomorphising, as if a horsecan understand a human'sidea of what is right and whatis wrong. For me I see horsesas either mentally present ornot, and all of the varying degrees of it. Then I wonderwhat is driving the horse tobe mentally gone. What isdriving a horse to have it'sprimary thought on every-thing but the human? Isthere an emotional aspect? Aable to call their primarythought is not regularlythought about out there inthe horse world.I hear riding instructors talkabout disrespect, or disobedi-ence, and I wonder if this isthe depth of their knowledgeof a horses mind. Is this theirway of understanding when ahorse is present or not? Ithink when a person usesthese words they are anthro-physical one? Is it a training issue or a pain issue? Dothey live a life with peoplewho talk at them?But the bottom line is, whenyou are out there with yourhorse, how easy is it to callon their primary thought inany given situation? Can youidentify the drive behind theirthought? Is there a physicalblock? Does something hurt?Is there an emotional block?horse's secondary thoughts.My trainer self wanted to startworking with him to get somekind of communication going.My Cranio-Sacral self sawmultiple old head traumasand wondered how he couldthink about anything with allof the compression in hishead. So I stood there won-dering how I could start treat-ing him without getting tram-pled! About half-way throughhis session this horse reallylet down, turned and lookedat me, sniffed my hands, andfor the first time I felt like hehad put me in his primarythought. This felt like thesame connection that I lookfor when training a horse. Sothis really got me thinking.Once this horse started feel-ing some relief, he was physi-cally able to let down and hewanted to be present with us.When I mentioned this to hisowner, I realized that thisconcept of directing yourhorse's thoughts or being Before I treat a horse, I usethe assessment portion to tryand connect with them, to tryand get the horse to put me intheir primary thoughts. One of my first horses that I treated afew years ago who was not ahorse in training with me, wasthis very large 17 hand ex-eventing horse. High-headed,spooking and bolting acrossthe arena with every little leaf that blew, and barely gave meor his owner a slight ear flick.We were just barely in this
Shea can be found at:StewartRanch.net
Primary Vs. Secondary, Cont’d
Page 2
We were  just barely  in this 
“That connection to their primary thought…”
Between the Reins
not good for him. Often it takes firm-ness to get the horse to drop it, butHarry is very effective in bringing thisabout because he first gets the horseto focus on him. Then, through clarity,firmness and sensitive release hehelps the horse drop the thought of habitual, problematic reactions inorder to try something else, something better. It works. The horse is atten-tive, searches, and tries. Harry isquick to release when he sees the try.The horse begins to relax and beginsto trust. He becomes a safer mount.Examples of this in action would bevery helpful, but how do you describean attitude, philosophy or intuition?Someone could go through the verymotions that Harry does and com-
pletely miss the essence. It’s not
something that can be packaged asTen Easy Steps or Fifty Terribly Diffi-cult Steps. It really is an out-working of a philosophy of being reasonableand of giving to the horse, rather than
getting. He’s helping the horse find anew way of being here. What wasn’tapparent to me at first is that Harry’s
approach helps the person find a new
way of being here, too. It’s like a cir-
cle. My horse helps me becomeaware of my energy. Am I frustrated,anxious, impatient, unsure? Even if I
don’t know, my horse sure does. I
reset. My horse responds. We re-spond to each other, and it grows.
In essence, Harry’s goal is not to makethe horse do something. It’s not to
take something from the horse, butrather to give. Offer a better choice,
build the horse’s confidence, establish
and strengthen the connection be-
tween horse and rider. It’s a gift to
both.visit with Harry at a clinic or athis ranch in Arizona, and thiscalendar will help you plan andorganize for the upcoming year. It is also a great gift ideafor the horse people in yourlife. You can purchase a calen-dar directly from Harry when youattend his clinic(s), or you canorder online at lulu.com/spotlight/equinephotos.Need a little help tokeep seeing things from the
horse’s point of view through-
out the year? Harry WhitneyPhotography has put togethera 12 month calendar for 2013,featuring photos that Harry hastaken of horses during his trav-els, and has added one of hisquotes to each photo.
It’s nev-
er too early to start planning a
Newcomer’s Corner
 By: Laura LinellSomething New from Harry  Whitney Photography!
Page 3August 2012
“You can 
 only ride the  way you  connect 
here’s a saying in the world of martialarts that “you can only fight the wayyou practice.” I would amend that forthe world of horsemanship to “you canonly ride the way you connect.” As a
first time attendee at a Harry Whitneyclinic, I became aware that Harry con-nects with horses very differently than
what I’ve seen elsewhere. In fact, by
comparison, many other methodsseem to skip connection.The first two days of the clinic I felt theway I do when I try to back up with a
trailer: I’m trying for the same spot,but everything I’m doing in order to get
there seems turned around, confus-ing, and awkward. But then I began tosee. Harry is reading the horse in
order to help him drop a thought that’s
Laura attended her first Harry clinic this year at
Mendin’ Fences in TN.

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