Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Ask yourself this?

Are you making progress with your horsemanship?

I am constantly amazed by the money that people hand over to trainers in return for not a lot really. If you want to employ a trainer to help you progress your horsemanship, here are some guidelines I reckon you should follow.

a) You should make tangible progress in every session.
b) You should leave with more knowledge and less confusion than you arrived with.
c) You should understand what the job is that you are trying to do.
d) Your horse should understand what the job is that you are asking him to do.
e) Your trainer should be concerned if you are not making progress.

That is some basic stuff just about your sessions – The next list is about you and your horse, and is just my opinion. I would go as far as to say that if these things aren’t happening you need to think about what you and your horse are actually learning in your training sessions.

a) You should be learning to relax on your horse.
b) Your horse should be learning to relax with you on board.
c) You should be training your horse without the use of force or restriction.
d) Your horse should be learning to carry you correctly.

Put in a nutshell, I guess what I am saying is if you are using any bracing in yourself, you shouldn’t be. If you are using restrictive tack you shouldn’t be. If you are pulling your horse in at the front you shouldn’t be. If your horse is over-bending he shouldn’t be. If your horse is worried about the bit he shouldn’t be. If you have a backwards pull in your hands you shouldn’t have. If your horse isn’t going forward when you ask he should be. If you are doing all the work to keep your horse going you shouldn’t be. If your horse is travelling on the front end he shouldn’t be. If your horse isn’t willing to do what you ask he should be. And finally, you should understand what riding in balance is.

If you don’t understand anything about any or all of the above you should ask your trainer to explain these things to you, and make sure that you understand his/her answer, and that you are happy with it.


jill said...

Oh how I've missed your posts Tom!
(Nodding my head in agreement while reading....
Love how you just say it like it is.

Kate S said...

I absolutely agree with you Tom, and I think this is a truly excellent post.

I wonder, what do you think the responsibility of the 'student' is in all this? How much should the student take it upon themselves to find out things to plug gaps in their knowledge, and work out things for themselves?

Tom said...

Jill - Thank you for your kind comment.
Kate - Yep, well I'm a student and when I'm with the horses I spend all my time doing what you say. It's a state of mind you have to get in to.
I think one of the biggest wind ups is when you are working with students who have somehow got into the culture of not doing those things, and always just look to someone better than them to provide all the answers.
I reckon to become a good horseman you have to get in there and start making a few mistakes - then you can start learning. I know people don't want to make mistakes with their horses, but in the end your horse will prefer you for it.

Zig said...

I can so hear you saying all this :))

glenatron said...

One side-effect of your low posting frequency here is that the lack of opinionated horsey blog posts has become so great I've had to start my own over at Pragmatic Horsemanship because I worried the internet was running short of opinions.