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Riding Blind, On a Feel


We take in so much information with our eyes. The vast majority of our opinions are first created by what we see, then by what we taste, smell, hear or feel. On a particular Saturday in October of 2015 I had the opportunity to ride with Patrick King. Patrick and I had just met the day before as I was staying at the farm he was teaching at, Transitions Equestrian Center. It was an afternoon class and we were working on teaching our horses to stretch their necks and to follow the bit, through a feel. Many of us would be on the right track, then we'd lose it, then we would get it working again and lose it and this carried on for a while but we were all making some headway. As I was working through this, I looked up across the arena in deep thought while still working with my horse on this. It started to come together. A little sooner and a bit more smooth each time, I could feel my horse more consistently as I asked him to follow my feel and direction. The next time I came around towards Patrick, I smiled cause I figured he'd get a laugh out of my next green statement.

"You know, it's so much easier if you don't even look at them."

Part of me didn't want to mention it at first because it seemed so obvious... Of course we strive to ride our horses on a feel. But sharing what I was feeling in those moments, with someone who has been there before made it so much more real.

No, I wasn't riding blind folded or with my eyes closed. Rather I was riding with a whole new vision, a vision powered by a feel. My eyes were focused on where we were going, my fingers were focused on feeling and getting in time with my horse's movement and my body worked to guide and direct my horses to where we were heading. Since this clinic I've been blessed to have kept in touch with Patrick. I could not be more thankful for the opportunity I had to ride in his clinic and to now call him a good friend. He has been of great influence and motivation as I continue working to further my own horsemanship for the sake of the horse and human. This life, the one horses bless us with, is a special journey. I am truly blessed and thankful for everyone I have met along the way and I cannot wait to meet each and everyone of you that I will down the road.

All the Best,

Colton Woods

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