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Thursday, January 21, 2016

I Do Not Remember Writing This Old One At All--But It's As True Now As Then

Yesterday, When I Was Young So Many Happy Songs Were Waiting To Be Sung




Death is predictable. Life is not. Life today was filled with surprises. I got drenched during the morning riding and cancelled the afternoon rides as the rain showed no sign of letting up. I invited the riders to come to the Little House to watch riding and training videos. Been a while since I went through the collection there and I did not expect to find what I found.

In 2003 I made a video of the first saddling and riding of Wind In His Hair, a young Chincoteague stallion. It was in the stack. I started to set it aside and then I remembered that there might be something important in it.

The sound quality was poor because of the heavy wind. Wind In His Hair Looked stunning. I looked ridiculous with rib protectors too small and helmet too ugly. (Quite a shock though to notice that I was wearing the same pants in the video that I have on today.)

None of that was what made the video matter. I doubt if I have seen it since about 2005. My memory shot back to that filming and I thought that I remembered something about Lido roping fence posts in the background of the video. After a while we were able to get the video up and playing. It was pleasant to see.

Not only was Lido in the back roping fence posts at about age ten, he appears significantly in the final section when the mounting occurs. At one point I am thinking out loud as to whether Wind was calmed enough for me to hop on him. I could hear Lido off camera saying "I say do it."

It was the first time that I had heard his voice since December 28, 2008, the night before he died.

It sealed a great deal of indecision that I had been going through about our program. I had come to believe that I needed to spend much more time on technical riding instruction and perhaps needed to incorporate more of some of the big name clinician's techniques into how we start colts and wild horses. In short, I was working towards making our program more conventional.

Nope. Over the years we have started around forty colts and wild horses. Our methods have not injured a horse. The number of injuries that my riders have had over the years is minuscule when one considers the number of miles that we ride, that most of them started their own horse under my direction, and that the majority of my riders are young kids.

I taught Lido how to ride and cerebral palsy made it so that only about half of his body was of any great use to him. I taught him to listen to a horse's body and he learned to hear it every bit as well as I can.

There are a plenty of other instructors out there that can follow any teaching model that they want to, but I am sticking to my very simple model.

The best way to learn to ride is to ride--to ride regularly, great distances, to the point of exhaustion until fatigue whips anxiety.

1 comment:

George W said...

I have come to describe our brand of horsemanship as being elemental. No recipes, or cookie cutter methods...the basic building block of the language is "You....move now!" Later..."You move now...in this direction and speed..." Always applied to the concept of 51% control amd 49% affection. It is then largely up to the individual teamed with the horse to be creative in how and what is taught.
Now....bunch of folks will decry that as being a gross oversimplification...perhaps...if said folks are too lazy to follow the maxim of Bill Dorrance (Talk about elemental horsemanship...his basic tenet cannot be adequately describes in words...is must be lived!) The Human must bring 90 percent of the mental game and the horse must bring 90 percent of the physical game...
One must think for the horse...constantly..or at least until, after many, many hours with the horse you have a comete understanding of one another.

Would it be easier to teach training and riding according to a set of instructions, or a curriculum? Probably. Would it work as well?
Probably not.
So....big name trainer has multiple sets of DVDs and books....take that money amd buy a better saddle and more feed for your horse....spend the time you would spend digging through all that mess out fooling around with your horse and riding him way back in the woods..
Your horse and your bank account will thank you.
Leave your watch at home. -Lloyd