If you have been following along, you know that last weekend was the Alabama Phoenix Festival. The bulk was standard Science Fiction convention: costumed guests, vendors, artist & authors alley, fan wanks on TV shows and movies, invited speakers. Dragon*Con writ small. However, the fellows behind APF have a mission to use the creative energy in fandom to inspire creativity in all areas of life. One way was to expand the festival to include such things as a LEGO display ( 🙂 ) and Dr. Osborn, the balloon artist. (Click thru to see Dr. O’s Balloons of Doom page. Full refund if you don’t find it gobsmacking.)
Since I spent three days prowling the convention for anything that could possibly combine fantasy/science fiction with horses, I also spent time pondering the intersection of creativity and horsemanship. Creativity and horses? Certainly: painting, photography, sculpture, books, poetry, even LEGO. Creativity and horsemanship? No. Allow me to restate that so I get in trouble for the right reasons.
Horsemanship is not a creative activity.
Working with horses may be fulfilling, empowering, magical, or whatever other New Age label you care to wield. But we are not creating anything new, as one does with a fistful of oils and a blank canvas (or tablet & light pen these days). Even “creative problem solving” is not as much creative as clever. Having a wide repertoire and knowing, guessing, figuring out which method to apply when. There are no new methods. At least not ones that work. Take away the snazzy marketing from the latest training guru and you find basic principles of horsemanship. If you don’t, run. As for the past, we can all point to horrible training examples in historic books on the subject. But that was the opinion of a small, literate minority who wrote books. Bench and field bifurcation is nothing new. Out in the barns and stables, illiterate, knowledgeable horsemen were quietly doing the correct thing, as they had been for thousands of years. And as the good ones still do. There is nothing new under the sun.
Horsemanship: Creative? Yeah or nay.