Saturday, January 16, 2016

To Learn, To Teach, To Ride

The best way to learn to ride is to ride. If one defines good riding as the ability to ride in a manner that is comfortable for the horse and the rider, at all speeds, in all terrain, in all weather, day or night, for hours upon hours on end, while using the lightest of cues--- it is the only way to learn to ride. Our "system" of teaching is based on the student first coming to understand the horse--his fears, his motivations, and what brings him pleasure (unfortunately in the established horse world only a minute percentage of riders ever reach this level of understanding). The student next learns the way to best sit in the saddle to allow for comfort for the horse and rider and to keep in that saddle. The final instructional point is to learn to administer cues to the horse with perfect consistency. When the student understands the principles set out above the only thing left to do is to ride far enough and often enough to embed these lessons deep in both the brain and the muscle.

 In this video we are returning from a ride that was over fifteen miles in the woods. The entire ride was nearly exclusively trotting and cantering with walking only when necessary as a result of the ground conditions. Several of these riders were novices. Many had never trotted a horse an entire mile before. The ride included several mares and three stallions. The overwhelming majority of these horses were either born in the wild or were no more than two generations from the wild. Every horse on the ride was gentled and trained by the riders in our program for the past decade. The youngest rider is eleven the oldest two are over fifty five. This is what is possible when instruction is based on taking all of the mystery out of riding (it truly is simple) and working hard to understand the only real mystery that matters-- the mind of the horse.

The saddest part of all of it is that the established horse world is so blinded by the pursuit of profit and the mad dash for conformity that when looking at this video all it will see is a rag tag army of riders and horses that it can make no money off of.

1 comment:

George W said...

Great deal of satisfaction in that video...both personal and professional. Kids tough enough to stick out a long hard ride like that on horses that they helped to is a rare thing.
The very best part of that ride was the almost total absence of whining...we make tough kids out here.
The satisfaction come in having helped them to get comes in riding the whole thing on a little stallion that you have about half trained, and that a majority of that mainstream horse world would think you to be insane to go in the woods on....
I trust these kids and horses a whole lot more than I trust whoever is trying to sell something my horse probably doesn't need.

Get on....ride...go...fall off...get hack on...suck up the hurt and collect the horse between your legs and drive him. Feel the it anyway. That is as close to a recipe as I have...