Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just a Little Room Please

The real test of natural horsemanship is two fold. Does it make for happier, better controlled horses? And equally important, does it make us better people? The 'established horse world' has a one pronged test for success. Does it make money for us?
When properly taught natural horsemanship passes both test. What it does for the horses is beyond question. More telling is what it does for the people that apply natural horsemanship. On more than one occasion my riders have been compared to students in traditional lesson programs. It is often pointed out that my riders, even the young teenage girls, lack the arrogance and snobbery, so often exhibited by other riders there age. Most of all my riders are happy. They love their horses and they love teaching them. Better grades, more patience, more demonstrations of responsibility, generosity, and maturity are the hall marks of kids who have mastered natural horsemanship. They learn that kindness is natural.
Traditional riding instruction, especially if it emphasizes competition, often does not bring out the best in people, especially kids. It is sad to see the base and crude level of discourse being generated by anyone who claims to love horses. Of course, there are many great teachers who love kids and horses who teach in a traditional style but still do so in a manner that build character in their students. But somewhere along the way the importance of developing a relationship with horses all too often falls to the side.
My riders are better people because of the achievements they have made with their horses. I do not expect the established horse world to be able to solve the problem of not attracting more kids to riding. I cannot even say, if you will not be part of the solution than stop being part of the problem, because there are too many good people involved in the established horse world. But I can say this. If you will not lead,or follow or get out of the way, than just give us enough room to develop programs that will draw kids to riding.
Lastly, please do not waste your time telling me that "real horsemen","true professionals", or "established breeders" do not approve of our program. I do not seek such approval and would be very concerned if I had it.


Anonymous said...

My horses have done more for me that I for them. And it's the relationship that's the important think for us, not the ultimate performance. I do have to say though, that I enjoy getting all spiffed up, cleaning the ponies and going out in the world to see how we stack up. Good or bad, we always have fun!

Consider yourself tagged by the photo-meme...


Steve Edwards said...

You touch on one aspect of my overall philosphy of horsemanship that may well not be well grounded. I try very hard to keep my own prejudices and silly quirks out of what I think about horsemanship but I am afraid that I do not always succeed.

My riders who are little girls love to clean up and decorate their horses. I do not approove but I grit my teeth and bear it.

My disapproval is of questionable origin. When I was young I was considered for a postion in the governor's cabinet. I purchased what was a very hot book at the time called "Dress for Success" and followed it to a T. I did not end up in the cabinet but as long as I was in politics I dressed properly.

Now I do not dress properly. I dress as I want to although it appalls many people in court, especially big city lawyers. I wear boots and rodeo shirts and have a dirty looking graying beard.

It makes me feel smugly superior to the young lawyers that I see in their starched white shirts with suits that cost more than my truck.

I prefer reality to appearences. I think that Plato might think of me more as one of the Guardians instead of one of the prisoners in the cave.

However, when I have a jury trial I put on a suit, shave and wear my new teeth. It makes me feel silly to do so, but it sort of helps me understand why it is ok to dress up the horses...sometimes.

Katelyn Kemp said...

Sometimes I too love to give my horses a bath and get them all pretty looking just to show them off!

Right now they stand munching on hay looking like they were bathed in mud or worse because they do like to roll!

Either way the true beauty is that they are living Spanish Mustangs. They have developed a true bond with a rider who will never be cruel because like Steve said we have patience and are not snobs.

Although his disapproval of making the horses look pretty might lead a rider to call him a cheese head.

Steve Edwards said...

I looked back over Simrat's comment and I fear I may have been too soft in my answer. I remain opposed to most forms of horse competition. I do not doubt that Simarat is accurate when she says that "Good or bad we always have fun" {in competitions}

However, Simrat is a reasonable, rational person who withstands well the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Everyone in the competitive horse world who shares these traits should continue to compete. My only fear is that that will not make for enough competitors to fill a class.