I have been creating a new video or writing an article for our weekly show for 10 years now. In the early days I would set up my $200 used camcorder from ebay and ride around in front of it, demonstrating a concept or exercise I wanted my students to practice that week.
It was an exciting day when a friend (or my Mom) was available to hold the camera and actually move it around to follow me.
From the beginning, I knew it would grow.
What I really wanted was to showcase my teachers. To give the opportunity to more riders to learn from these amazing mentors.
Today, at HorseClass, we have 8 instructors and tens of thousands of students from all around the globe.
Technology allows us to learn together from literally anywhere, but there is still nothing like being together.
One month ago, I traveled back from my home in Mexico to our HorseClass Farm Campus in Honey Brook, Pa for a big project on the farm and two events we were hosting with our instructors, Angelo Telatin and Wendy Murdoch.
These teachers are a superb example of our community ethos of sharing values and yet having information and ideas presented in many different ways.
I believe there can be far too much rigidity in the horse world, and in people in general, where each believes his way is right and fails to see where there could be commonality. (here’s an article specifically on this.)
Angelo and Wendy have been my most influential riding mentors, and yet their teaching style is starkly different. They are both looking for the same ease from the horse, and stability in the rider, they both focus on what the student is doing right, and they both use novel props and exercises. And still, they are very different teachers.
At HorseClass, this is what we strive to bring you with all our instructors and curriculum.
Different teachers, different ideas, different methods and techniques, but shared values – wanting the best for the horse, being inclusive to all, and fostering a positive learning environment.
I am sure how HorseClass has developed has stemmed from my own personal need to always be exploring, learning, and finding the connections.
Most of my focused study in my life has not been in horsemanship. My curiosities lead me to psychology, behavior, spirituality, movement, the body, and then these explorations inform my time with horses,
It is why I am often on the move, both in mind and body, and while I cherish the time at the farm in Pennsylvania, where I grew up and where 3 generations of my family lived and died, I am always eager to head off again.
My next stop is England, and by the time you are reading this letter, I will be there, strolling around the English countryside with Andrea Wady, another of our HorseClass instructors, discussing life and horses, and seeing if we can befriend a few of the native, wild living Dartmoor ponies.
I hope you enjoy this new format we have created for you, expanding on our weekly show, bringing you more wisdom from our instructors, and pulling our community closer together with ways to get involved and learn with each other.
To you and your horse,
P.s. I will be popping in once a month with one of these personal letters for you, sharing where I am, what I am studying, which horses I’m spending time with, and the adventures I am planning. I hope you enjoy!