Viewing entries tagged horsemanship
The proliferation of mass media, internet included, has meant that opinions have also been more easily expressed and this is good in general. Horsemanship, like everything else, has also taken advantage of this expansion of communication and the shrinking of the globe, in most cases to good avail. One can now accumulate knowledge on horses, breeds, their care and many other good things within seconds, and while this does not replace practical knowledge, it is important to say that not being well read on these matters could be counter productive.
Over the past decade and half there have also emerged many schools of thought on horsemanship, some very well thought out and executed and others not so distinct and clear as to what they want to say and more importantly to whom. On the one hand we have schools of thought and information that are highly useful, positive and instructive, and on the other hand we have a great deal of 'I-am-better-than-you' attitudes or 'bashing down others' perhaps to look good. In a sense there is a great deal of equine snobbery going on out there, with self appointed experts.
While I stumbled into owning horses first hand when I was 18 and my brother had suddenly died, leaving me 6 horses to care for, my family owned race horses since I can remember. Then a hiatus of many years followed in respect of ownership, till I met my wife, a renowned Hall of Fame horsewoman and owning horses for pleasure and shows began. Looking back I could say what I learned and continue to learn in the past three years has been an eye opener.
Many young people come and ask about horses and yes there are books on the subject and DVD's etc, but there is a certain feel of horses that comes with time and yet one can never definitively say one is an expert. We learn each day from the horses, and the day we stop we stagnate into the smell of our own egos. Yet what would one tell the youth of today who wish to be involved with horses.
As an over all advice one would say that opinions about horses, horsemanship and sports on horses are perhaps far too many, each as vocal as the other. However, as a foundation and a good beginning there are some important lessons we learn. While there are many facets to horse ownership and care a starting point has to always be the horse itself.
For the young people I would say follow the Three 'R's".
Respect your horse and develop a relationship with the horse that it also respects you.
Read your horses mood. Just like people they can wake up from the wrong side of the stable, or be more spooky than normal.
Relate to your horse. Be with a horse because you want to be with him, not to show off to your friends, or have a horse as a fashion statement.
These three basic guidelines will set the tone of our relationship with the horse.
The other aspect of learning with horses is then about finding the trainer who can guide you through the basics and eventually through the finer points of riding either for pleasure, or for the sport you choose.
The choice of trainers is also a choice of a personal chemistry with a trainer, its a matter of style of the lesson which is unique to each trainer. Indeed the difference between great teachers and just average teachers relates to not only to their passion for the horse but also their passion to teach. Some wonderful sports people actually have been useless coaches, as indeed a number of great coaches in some sports have never really played the sport.
Also remember not only is each sport highly specialized but also different breeds of horses have different temperaments, so how you deal with a warmblood in dressage may vary in the finer points from say an Iberian horse. As a newcomer do not get bogged down in the all the high stuff and the debates that go on at that level. Listen to your horse and you will know when you are building a relationship or destroying one.
Young people are enthused with the images of gold medals and accolades but they must know there is more to being with horses then winning ribbons. Indeed if the winning comes on a horse that has enjoyed the competition and the thrill and has carried you through the experience with relaxation then enjoy and embrace that experience. But as a young horse lover remember not all horses win ribbons and sometimes the horse that never won may well end up being the horse that gives you the most joy.
On a final note, as a horse lover we all are appalled when a horse is not treated well by somebody. Indeed our perceptions of what is acceptable and what is not vary but as a rule it is always best never to say in public a negative thing about something but rather to set an example of good caring horsemanship so that people will come to you for the change in their journey. When there is alot of noise out there remember the peace your horse gives you is what it is all about.
Horsemanship and the pursuit of horse sports have been an integral part of UAE society since one can remember. Its position on the world equestrian map through Thoroughbred Racing, Endurance racing, Arabian Horses shows and recently making forays into Show Jumping and Dressage are well recognized. There is no denying that a great measure of this has been possible due to the support and largesse of the the ruling families of the different Emirates that make up the UAE.
The Four Keys to Exceptional Horsemanship
We all want stakes winners, Grands Prix jumpers, super stars, but it doesn’t work that way. Every footballer wants to play in the FIFA World-cup but of the millions of people, who kick a black and white football, less than 1% found their way onto a World-cup team and less than 1% of those are serious contenders for the trophy.
The first time I asked a respected trainer what he thought the most important thing to know or do as a horse trainer was, I was really disappointed in his answer. “Train every horse as an individual,” he told me. I was expecting manna from heaven, something profound I’d never thought of or heard before. What I got was something I thought was so obvious that surely everyone knew it.
Well, evidently, not everyone knows this keystone of training.
The Four Keys to Exceptional Horsemanship
Horses will teach you that what ever you know, it’s not enough and it will never be enough! That’s a good thing because it encourages you to keep an open, curious mind. It is best to always be looking for what you can learn in any given moment from any given person or horse. Also understand that you are a role model and teacher at any given time to all who encounter you, human and horses alike.