Mendin' Fences Farm
Horsemanship Education Center
Frequently Asked Questions
This year, Harry is adding a new feature to the Intensive Format.
He calls is a "Search Day".
What follows is my condensed version attempt
to give you an idea of what to expect.*
(from Mendin' Fences Farm Facebook Page)
“What is this thing called ‘the search’”?
So, I have been struggling for a good long while for a way to present this in a way that gives a reasonable picture of what happens. I am certain I cannot give the best explanation so, those of you who have watched Harry do this, please feel free to clarify or expand.
The most general comment would be that it is liberty work (no halter, rope, or other usual tool that *actively* directs the horse). Instead, Harry (and then, presumably, us) chooses a spot. It might be up on the arena rail, or in a chair in the corner, or in the chair in the middle of the arena, or totally out of sight.
Harry will choose a spot that he wants the horse to “search” for and move to. He does not DIRECT, he just calmly discourages a differenr choice by a movement of the flag or whatever tool he has chosen. HE is not actively moving his own body. The only movement is to communicate let’s say ”colder”, try again. I
’ve seen Harry do this several times. Once, he stood totally out of sight and used a bull whip and cracked it when the horse made a different choice. Eventually, the horse, figures out that s/he can make different choices and “searches” for the one that is the most comfortable. Again, there is no ACTIVE encouragement, only a response to what the horse has chosen.
Now, again, my apologies if I did not do this justice. *Please* feel free to comment!
One more thing … you know how folks say that watching this stuff is often like watching grass grow but we all sit there anyway cuz we want to. Well, THIS is like watching the seeds get put in the ground for that grass later on. But, trust me, it’s fascinating and you cannot turn away!
* I understand that there is an extensive article by Tom Moates about this in the latest "Eclectic Horseman"