Blog 20 “The Art of Motivational Horsemanship – The ‘Space Between The Notes'”

Blog 20  Sept 13 2018

“Weaving The Story of Horse and Human”

“The Art of Motivational Horsemanship – The ‘Space Between The Notes'”

“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” ~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart’s quote  fit perfectly with my ever-changing philosophy and teachings and my learning-s from Rhett.  What did that mean for my horsemanship journey and what and how I teach?


“Enjoy the silence of the space.  Enjoy and embody the place of ‘being’ in the space.” Rhett said.


What does that mean?   Space between the notes??


“ The art of our horsemanship journey will be built on the space of silence.  Silence is a place where things will grow and flourish. Silence will provide the growing awareness of everything outside of us as well as everything within.”  Rhett explained to me.


Silence?   Why had no one told me about this before?


“I have been showing you this since the day we met” Rhett mused.  




You could spend counting hours perfecting your technique or the way you make a request or sharpening how fast your horse reacts to your make.  But the true art of your horsemanship journey is a lifetime of mastering the silence or the ‘space between the notes’.   When your journey is focused upon as an art,  you can observe, focus and concentrate easier by going into  your mind and heart and becoming more aware of the small nuances that can be found in that quiet, silent place.   Silence is a rhythm too.


The ‘notes’ are the suggestions, asks and requests we make of each other, in all our relationships.


“Find your Silence – the ‘space between the notes” said Rhett.


On our horsemanship journey, when we use too many ‘notes’ of asking,  too many ‘notes’ of cues and aids,  and too many ‘notes’ of words,  there is no silence or space left between the notes for learning to begin.   Rest, silence and quiet between the notes is just as important as the ‘note’.




The real ‘lessons’ lie in the ‘space between the notes’.  That’s where the ideas, insights and creative answers to our horsemanship challenges easily come from.   Learning from the silence or space can give us more energy and help us stay motivated and progressing on our journey.   The ‘space’ teaches us to become focused and aware of all the things happening around us on our journey.


For me, on my horsemanship journey with Rhett, most important was learning from the ‘space’.  Finding the space was a time for us to reflect, process and co-create our every changing communication and connection.  The ‘space’ between the notes’ was growing longer, allowing the ‘notes’ to lengthen and produce harmony.


As Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote, “Without the silence to interrupt the sounds – it would be only one long, continuous tone.  Are we taking the time to create that silence and letting it speak to us so we can then create our music?”  (Life Lesson)

Are you allowing the silence to create the true connection and ‘music’ to dance with your horse?  Do you know how to allow?


With Rhett’s guidance, I was learning the meaning of ‘silence is golden’.  I was learning it is the silence that creates the connection.  (Learning Lesson)


Between each of the thoughts, asks and ‘notes’,  is the space.  The quieter, calmer and more observant we are, the more aware of the space we become.    As our thought process and awareness grows, our string of ‘notes’ gets slower, and the ‘space between the notes’ gets longer, leading to the music and dance of our dreams.  (Learning and Language Lessons)

For us, it didn’t happen right away.  I was just so happy not to get kicked or be the victim of a striking front hoof.  Positive reinforcement and the clicker was allowing me a way to ask Rhett to try something and it was totally opposite of any type of training he might have had.   But because I was relying on a ‘technique’,  I didn’t initially see or feel any of the ‘space between the notes.’    I understand it is a process that will take months and years.  That is why it is called a journey.  (Life Lesson)

As any of my friends would concur, being quiet is a challenge for me.  For Rhett, the opposite was true, he was quiet much of the time.  However, his quiet was his ‘pause’, his ‘space between the notes’, his ‘silence’.  Rhett’s quiet was not just a void between the Things I Thought Mattered.  Rhett’s quietness and teaching about silence was showing me that learning was happening in the ‘space between the notes’.


The ‘space between the notes’ and the space between the lessons and the practice was where the learning was becoming permanent.


If only I had understood, during this important time of our horsemanship journey,  that when there wasn’t ‘space between the notes’, new ideas would keep flooding in, overwriting the previous ideas and it became a cycle.   When not allowed the ‘space’ or ‘pause’, the learner’s brain doesn’t have a chance to reflect and process, and physiologically, ‘synthesize the proteins needed for long-term memory storage.’  

Long term memory from learning, for us both, was happening long after the training session ended when we co-created ‘space between the notes.’  (Learning Lesson)


“Not all ‘space’ and ‘pauses’ need feel awkward.  The ‘pause’ is where all the interesting things happen in the other being’s head.”  Rhett said. 



“Karen, it wouldn’t hurt you to learn to be ‘quiet'” Rhett smirked.  “You’re still trying to tell me what I am thinking and feeling.  You aren’t leaving me any room for my own observations and interpretations.”  (Big Learning Lesson)



Now that I’ve prattled on, leaving you little ‘space’ to use your  imagination, I’m sharing just a few videos and photos of some of our training’s from May 2015 to May 2016.  He was learning to accept the bareback pad and saddle pad, load in the trailer and accept the saddle.   Those were three big goals over the course of a year.  I realized every day that these are things that most horses experience in the first 2-10 days of their ‘training’.

This process did not come without many setbacks.  Many times of self doubt in my abilities.  Self doubt of my ability to translate Rhett’s teachings to myself and my students.  Self doubt that I was truly ‘enough’.   (Blog 15 Reference “One Step back, Two Steps Forward .”)

Months and years of learning and living in the ‘space between the notes’.

[Insert space]

[Allow pause for reflection]

One minute video of Rhett’s ‘Best Day Ever’ since we began our journey.   Little did I know there would be many more ‘Best Day Ever’ days as we journeyed forward.  



Short video of Rhett June 2015 relaxing in bareback pad while getting his feet trimmed.  Well, that’s what I thought he was doing, but looking back at this, I see much more now!   


So glad I have photos and videos backed up in Google, 4 phones later!   Rhett walking from barn towards pasture with bareback pad. 


Here is a 2 minute video of Rhett moving around the pasture for the 2nd or 3rd time with the bareback pad on.  



Short video of Rhett with long blanket and bareback pad in walking in pasture.  


Rhett learning how to accept breastcollar, just in case.  Doesn’t he look happy!  🙁

Short video of Rhett and Koda playing in arena.  Rhett is really learning how to live like a horse.  



Again…so happy to have found some of these old videos.  2 minute video of Rhett in trailer after playing for about 5 months off and on with loading.  

Two minute video with Rhett in trailer.  I ‘see’ so much more now! 


Few photos of Rhett’s first time in the arena at liberty without another horse with him.



And his first time in a saddle.   This was MONTHS and months of positive reinforcement, breaking each step down even further.  And many steps forward and backward.   I wasn’t utilizing ‘silence’ as I could have, I wasn’t practiced enough!

Short video of Rhett in saddle moving around 1st time at barn.

And then this happened.  Rhett walked into the pasture with the saddle on for the first time.  

Do you see your personal lesson(s) in this story?

Next:  “Ask.  Believe.  Act.  Receive.  Preparing for Riding”

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