Friday, March 5, 2010
Ray Hunt Memorial in Fort Worth, Texas
This last week I went to Fort Worth, Texas to honor Ray Hunt at the Ray Hunt Memorial. Ray Hunt, for those of you who don't know a thing about horses, was the master of the type of horsemanship that they tried to depict in the movie, The Horse Whisperer, with Robert Redford. There isn't a single worth while 'natural horsemanship' clinician in the world who wouldn't give Ray Hunt and his mentors Tom and Bill Dorrance credit for their teachings about horses. Ray Hunt and Caroline Hunt, his wife, did what Tom and Bill Dorrance didn't feel comfortable doing.
They shook the world of horsemanship.
He died last year.
For those of you who know something about horses, you probably already know who Ray Hunt is. If you don't know who he is and you have horses, you have missed the best. Look him up on the Internet. I'm so sorry that you missed him. This link tells a little about what he did.
The first time that I ever saw Ray Hunt was in Pennsylvania years ago. He would sit on his horse and talk to us. The other horses that were loose in the arena would just want to be with him. It was like they needed to be touched by him. Sometimes he would wave them away but sometimes he would reach his hand out and just invite them to be scratched. There is not enough room on this blog to talk about him so that those of you who don't know about him would understand. He is very missed and the people who were at the memorial, from all over the world, both spectators and clinicians, are trying hard to follow what he made look so easy and what is so hard to master.
Twenty people drew twenty horses out of a hat and had 45 minutes on one day and 45 minutes on the next day to get their horses halter broken and saddled and ridden. These horses were 2 year olds who were brought right in from the range, hadn't been handled at all and were just as wild as an untouched horse can be.
This was not a competition. They were asked to think of Ray while they worked with their colts and have him sort of on their shoulder as they worked through the problems with each colt.
All these horsepeople tried to implement the teachings of Ray Hunt in their approaches. It was a wonderful thing to see.
By the end of the second day, all the horses were being ridden together. These cowboys had ropes flying around and people laughing and the colts looked for all the world like they were content with what was going on. It was a really nice thing to see.
I was lucky enough to travel with five women , including Terry McClare, who carries on Ray's practices here in Maine and has helped me out with my horse, Grace. She is a extraordinary horsewoman who helps people with their horses. She lives in Brownfield, Maine. All these women were so much fun to be with and so serious about their horses that it was a pleasure....and a blast!
To say that it was a wonderful and memorable weekend is an understatement. It was sad and hopeful and emotional. It was a once in a lifetime chance to see some of the best horsepeople in the world. Buck Brannaman and Buster McClaury and Martin Black to name just a few.
Although most of what you will find on this blog will be about plants and landscapes, I can't let you forget that the whole reason for me to be here in the first place has to do with the horse.
My heartfelt thanks to Ray and Caroline Hunt for making my horse's lives better.