In December of 2011 we were able to get Harry to come to Nan Funkhouser's barn in Baldwin for a five-day clinic and two full days of private lessons. I was able to ride in the clinic and do a few private lessons. I have learned quite a bit from Harry over the past ten years and this year was no different. No matter how much I have learned about horses in the past, Harry always gives me something new to think about and fresh perspectives on old concepts. Harry creates a good learning environment where questions are welcomed and great discussions occur. If you found yourself at one of Harry's clinic's, you would be laughing often and learning more than your mind can handle.
~Ty Haas, Lawrence, KS
The last day of Harry’s clinic in Baldwin City, KS was yesterday and I can’t wait to get out in the mud and rain and freezing cold to start working with the rainbow of ideas and suggestions I witnessed over the past 7 days (48 lessons!).
The clinic was elucidating, I can’t think of a better word than that. A wide variety of horse and rider issues were presented and discussed in detail, from both Harry’s point of view and the horse’s perspective. Harry then offered plans and techniques to work out of the problems. You could see each horse and rider experiencing a release of tension which translated into a relaxed horse and a much better ride.
After the clinic Harry taught two days of private lessons. I worked with TomTom, a 3 year old paint stallion. My lesson was geared to the basics since I am fairly new to this. We worked on backing up, creating a boundary, bending into circles and moving forward from the shoulder. I was able to use this lesson immediately to put TomTom back into the stall he shares with another young stallion.
Harry is a deep well of horse wisdom, people wisdom and cheerful good humor.
Throughout our private lesson, he voiced the thoughts and feelings of my horse; his unique way of getting the teaching done right. I do believe Harry is more than a little, horse. Don’t tell him I said that!
~Vivian Faulkner, Overland Park, KS
Wow!!! What a blessing to have the opportunity to attend one of Harry’s clinics! To say that it exceeded my expectations is an understatement! In fact, when things really started to ‘come together’ for me, I was reluctant to take even a short break for fear I might miss something (sort of like a toddler who doesn’t want to take a nap).
With Harry’s help, I can finally better articulate why I prefer my horse willingly respond to my requests rather than have her do what I say because she is afraid of what will happen to her if she doesn’t. I want her to trust me rather than resent me.
Having worked in the early childhood field for most of my adult life, it is almost funny how amazed I was when I finally realized all of the parallels between working with horses and working with children. Now that I ‘get’ it, it just makes sense…
Some of those insights/observations from the clinic: Horses (and children) can learn and respond more effectively when they are able to relax and not be anxious or worried about what is going to happen; especially if they make a mistake. Some of the ways humans (adults) help create that relaxed atmosphere, facilitate the communication/learning, and build confidence in our leadership is through:
• Consistency in how we make requests,
• Consistency in how we respond to efforts,
• Providing or allowing the time for the horse (child) to consider options and make a choice, and
• Providing guidance to assist the horse (child) in finding the ‘right’ answer.
Harry uses the same respectful approach when helping humans learn how to better work with their horses. His sense of humor and easy-going manner helps people relax and be confident that the world is not going to come crashing down if they make a mistake. That is, after all, how we all learn!
I was excited to learn that Harry will be returning to Baldwin City for another clinic in December, 2012 and am looking forward to soaking up as much as possible during that week. I’m pretty confident my horses will be thankful as well. Thank you Harry, Nan, Ty and everybody else who is working to make this happen!
~Tina, Wellsville, KS
I have been privileged to watch a number of the intensive [clinic] weeks since Harry started them here in TN and was also able to participate in one this year. The benefit to attending a clinic as an auditor is you get to see Harry work each horse with the concepts he teaches and this allows you to see how they work for EACH and EVERY horse. As a rider you get to see Harry work with your horse day after day and then feel and understand the changes that took place while watching. In my mind it doesn't get any better than this in watching and learning from a master horseman.