Each year Spalding Labs supports Light Hands Horsemanship. As in previous years it’s been held at beautiful Intrepid Farms in Santa Ynez, CA. For those not already familiar with Light Hands Horsemanship it is an innovative concept to teaching horsemanship. “Lightness” is the cornerstone of the event. It is what each clinician present strives for in their own training from the first touch to the most advanced. You will see examples of lightness in the way a lead line is held or how the reins are handled in both young, inexperienced horses and more advanced horses.
There are four “cornerstone” clinicians that have been at the Light Hands Horsemanship since the beginning. Dr. Robert Miller, world-renowned speaker and author on Horse Behavior and Natural Horsemanship will be in attendance. He is also father of the revolutionary foal training technique known as "imprint training". Dr. Miller has mentored many natural horsemanship clinicians through the years. His ability to explain the how and why of training has resulted in more horse owners having better communication and being more effective with their horse.
Eitan Beth-Halachmy is known for his accomplishments in the Morgan Horse show ring and more recently for “Cowboy Dressage.” Eitan is part teacher and part entertainer. He brings a unique approach to horsemanship to the Light Hands event.
Lester Buckley grew up in cattle country but pursued his love of horses all over the world. He trained horses for the working cowboys of both the King Ranch in Texas and the Parker Ranch in Hawaii. Lester’s appreciation of the preciseness of Dressage led him to Germany where he studied under Dressage and Jumping Masters and earned his level IV and III Bronze Performance Medals respectively.
Montana horseman Jon Ensign finishes the “cornerstone four.” With gentle patience, skill and more than 30 years experience, Jon trains riders to build a working relationship with their horses, which comes from a deep understanding of equine thinking, instincts and behavior. Jon has a deep understanding of horses and ease in communicating with horse and rider. His skill and patience as a teacher have contributed to his gifts as a clinician.
Rick Lamb, of The Horse Show, had emceed the event since that start. Rick also provides fascinating lectures on a variety of topics.
Richard Winters and Jack Brainard joined the group for the 2nd and 3rd years. Both are now on the schedule annually. Richard Winters is in his 4ht year of presenting at Light Hands Horsemanship. He has World Championship titles, is an A rated judge, has won Road to the Horse but it’s his skill as a masterful communicator that delights the crowd each year in Santa Ynez. Jack Brainard has participated in the event for four years. Jack has been a trainer, breeder, judge, leader, teacher, author and mentor. More than 50 years working with horses and people has given Jack the skill to explain concepts to the audience clearly. He is especially well known for his “easy to understand” approach to the fly lead change.
Light Hands Horsemanship is thrilled each year to have guest clinicians join in the fun. In 2011 Sheila Varian came and wowed the audience with her expertise and entertained them with her stories (sometimes about the other clinicians). Sheila started Varian Arabians in 1952 and had early influence from Tom Dorrance. Sheila is also one of the few people who are knowledgeable in the old time California Vaquero techniques of training a horse.
Spalding Labs sponsors Light Hands Horsemanship each year. Why does a company that sells beneficial insects like Fly Predators and odor control products like Bye Bye Odor sponsor an event focused on horsemanship? It is because the company believes in giving back to the horse community. What better way can there be to do that than to provide horse owners with valuable information about how to effectively communicate with your horse with a lighter and lighter and lighter touch?
In addition to sponsoring Light Hands Horsemanship, Spalding Labs offers free training tip videos by the Light Hands clinicians in the "Videos" section of this website. There you’ll find great tips for young, inexperienced horses as well as tips for the more advanced horse. New videos are posted often so check back regularly.
These clinicians are “Masters of Lightness.” They will share their knowledge and create a desire in you to know more and to learn more and to do more.
It promises to be a weekend not easily forgotten.
© Spalding Laboratories. All Rights Reserved.