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Horse Expo Heads North in Search of Headliner

Noted Canadian Clinician Jonathan Field Slated at Sacramento

The Western States Horse Expo, June 6-8, 2008 at Cal Expo in Sacramento, searched near and far for the world’s best clinicians to educate and entertain the audience at the Expo’s 10th anniversary. Looking north to Canada, Expo management was captured by Jonathan Field’s remarkable horsemanship and his ability to teach it. It only took a few moments to decide to invite Jonathan to headline this year’s event.

When asked about his overall philosophy, Jonathan replied, “I want every student’s experience to be a positive one. I want them to be inspired. True horsemanship is attainable by all who love horses, not just a chosen few. In order to achieve those goals, however, it’s important to maintain the dignity of horses and humans by using patience and humor.”

Jonathan, as do many classic horsemen, recognizes that ground work with a horse is imperative in creating a relationship with the animal — long before you try anything as a rider. “If it won’t happen on the ground,” states Jonathan, “it won’t happen in the saddle.” Jonathan has formulated a four-step program that gets people from ground to saddle — safely. “I want people to be inspired. I teach a process that’s easy to learn in small segments, so people can have a good foundation in their relationship with their horses. The last thing anyone wants is to feel overwhelmed.”

Jonathan’s program starts with a basic philosophy that allows people to “get inside the mind of the horse,” focusing on prey animal behavior when in relationship with a human. Next comes Concept, which involves integrating philosophy into your evaluation of a particular horse behavior or problem. Next is Theory, which helps you develop a procedure for strengthening your relationship with your horse based on your observations. These three steps accomplished, the fourth is to develop tasks for you and your horse — detailed tasks that have a purpose. “Don’t rush to the task; it’s essential to fully diagnose the issue without losing sight of your goal for relationship,” reminds Jonathan. A task may be something as simple as riding a specific pattern at different gaits, backward and sideways. “Remember,” adds Jonathan, “you are not trying to conquer your horse, you are trying to provide leadership and develop a partnership. That includes being firm, fair and friendly.”

Horses have always been a central part of Jonathan’s life; he’s spent years competing in English and Western classes. At the age of 19, Jonathan suffered an accident, and horses were an important part of his recovery. It was at that juncture that he decided to make horses his life’s focus. In 1995 he studied with Pat Parelli and quickly went through the Parelli program, becoming a horse specialist. Other mentors include master horseman Ronnie Willis and reining champion Craig Johnson. Jonathan’s most important teachers, however, have always been his horses. Through his relationship with the horse, he’s learned to see things from a different point of view, and recognizes that of all the characteristics of great horsemen, humility is the most important. “My dream is to achieve the highest connection possible with horses,” he says. “I want my horses to be as interested in me as I am in them.”

Jonathan will demonstrate at the Expo with three of his top personal horses, perhaps including a choreographed routine with the horse performing around a 12’ pole (one end on the ground, the other in the rider’s hands) — an elegant presentation with its roots in Spain and Portugal. “I really like demonstrating that there is more to horses than just routine training,” he says. “Horses love to have fun — and my horses and I will show the Expo folks what’s easily achievable with their own horses, and how to have fun doing it.”

The Western States Horse Expo is proud of its list of clinicians. In addition to Jonathan Field, the Expo lineup is highlighted by Chris Cox, Jane Savoie, Sandy Collier, Scot Hansen, Charles Wilhelm and Bonnie Davis.

For more information about the 10th Western States Horse Expo, visit http://www.horsexpo.com or call 800.352.2411.

 

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