I thought it was fitting to write a post on the day I leave Dartmoor with three of my horses, after four years of living with Tom and Sarah Widdicombe. Two of my horses are staying with them, so it just me and the Iberian boys who have moved to new (and worryingly, much greener) pastures.
I ended up at Tom and Sarah’s by mistake. My lovely Dad had died, and with a broken heart I went to Dartmoor for a week, taking my three horses with me - Megan, Tex and Finny. When I came to return Megan refused to load, and the rest is a cliché. So, we stayed, and my life took something of a turn. I cannot express to them in words how grateful I am to them for taking me in, and not only becoming my close and dear friends, but also so graciously sharing with me their gifts and knowledge. As I saw all three of my young horses dealing fabulously with moving home today, I knew that we were only here, and that these animals have only been able to rely on me in anyway because of Tom and Sarah (who undoubtedly will be thinking – ‘I bet there’s still a brace in those nags...).
I have just started reading Bill Dorrance and Leslie Desmond’s book – True Horsemanship through Feel’. I am only on about page 10 (only another 5000 to go) and it has already flawed me.
"What a fella needs to be aware of is that horsemanship through feel is handed down from one friend to another. It isn't for sale, no it isn't for sale. And I'd rather think that any fella, before he gets too far along on the training end of things where horses are concerned, should know about this from the start."
I am just reading Tom’s book again (I often have more than one book on the go, which is not that productive) and only now feel like I understand what was getting at.. And in ten years I will probably read it again, and think then that I am only just getting it. And I know his horsemanship has now moved on, so I am already well behind.