Introductory two hour session for those who desire to become Western riders.
This is a starter lesson in Passive Horsemanship and how this knowledge can be related into the practical equestrianism of Western Riding. My prospective customers should realise, this is not the venue for a thrill seekers pony ride I care deeply how my horses are ridden. Simplistically, it’s an amazing educational opportunity for a complete beginner to learn how to ride a horse in a passive way or for an experienced rider in a different discipline, to fast track their understanding of what Western riding has modernly become.
To encourage anyone thinking of taking this session; I need to explain what good value this two hour session really is. The session includes a one hour sat down tutorial and a one hour lesson or trail ride. Although the two hour session includes a one hour ridden lesson or trail ride, which is charged the same as my ridden one hour sessions; I only charge half this price per hour for the hour’s tutorial. My main reason for doing so, is to encourage pupils to take the time to understand some basic facts about the mentality of equines and how to guide them with one hand. It is also for the sake of my horses, through taking the tutorial, no one unknowingly rides my horses, in what I would believe is an aggressive way.
Sadly, many people believe there is nothing wrong with increasingly pulling on the reins to stop or kicking a horse to make it go forwards. Strangely, this belief has become locked into the procedural memory of so many, who plainly don’t think such discomfort matters. Perhaps all they need to know, is how to do it differently and they can only do that by having it explained otherwise.
Paradoxically, all experienced horsemen and women know very well, a certain amount of discomfort may have to be applied to a horse in its initial training, as an unavoidable communication. For the thinking horseman, in any discipline, they have always known when the horse is fully trained, such a discomfort to direct the horse should then not be applied on a permanent basis. Yes, I know very well, if you have bred a foal and have handled it correctly from the day it was born, it’s entirely possible that you may never need to cause it any real discomfort in its training. Most of us sadly do not have this opportunity or the skill to accomplish such consummate training.
No wonder, many Victorian horsemen believed horses were incapable of emotions because for the most part, it suited their form of aggressive horsemanship and equitation, to believe this was true. Horses in fact feel a mild discomfort and pain emotionally as we do and they always have done. So it’s my job in the tutorial, to explain how you can minimise this effect in training and totally eliminate the need to apply it to your control, in a fully trained well bred horse.
The tutorial is taken in the secure setting of the dining room of my twelfth century manor house. It’s here, where I use an inert oak refectory table as a considerable equine teaching aid. I do this well before I introduce my pupil to the horse they are going to ride. I teach, through the analogy of the table’s flat surface having imaginatively becoming an equestrian interface; similarly as a keyboard allows you to direct your computer.
It is also where I explain the elements of how we should realistically compare our own emotionality to that of equines. I explain my concept of what a passive invitation is as a cue and a mild discomfort as an aid. It gives the pupil the concentrated opportunity to learn the physical application of the four dimensional control of how in a practical sense, we rein (guide) horses with one hand and our legs to compliment the control. The second hour; is a conventional riding lesson in a sand school or for the more capable and adventurous, the possibility of a trail ride for those with more confidence.
At my time of life, when I feel most other people are unlucky enough to be retired, after a life time of loyal service from my horses, I feel in return, I should try to help the lives of horses generally. I believe I have already done so by teaching my pupils how to passively communicate their control to gain a working symbiosis, with any horse. In some small way my hope is also, I have played my part in massaging the meme of a more caring horsemanship and equitation. I hope what I have taught, in the future, will spread from the abilities and the mouths of my pupils, into the minds of others.
I have been lucky enough, to have had the unerring help of my well-bred and trained Western school horses, to achieve my passive realisations. Like my personal mentors, I have tried to do this as a communicator, where I try to enthuse my pupils that I can make this understanding a realisation for them. I do it through what I believe is the genetic marker held within the equine mentality, which all domesticated horses hold in common. It is only then for us all, through sequences of perfect practise, any horse will eventually trust in the fairness of our control. In some small way, my hope is to transfer a life time of equine related experiences, into my pupil’s beliefs, so they can more quickly benefit from my passive deductions.
I also do this by enlightening my pupils; “hoses understand what you know and more tellingly, what you don’t know.” In this way, it is comparable, as if you purchased a new hybrid car, which you had very little understanding of how to drive and maintain, you might be well advised to ask the salesperson, if they could spare the time, to educate you how the controls and fuel differed from a more conventionally powered car, before you drive it away.
I do not agree with the popular concept, the way most people ride conventionally, is very similar to how horses are guided in the ancient Classical Riding Style or its many similarities with Western Riding. I only have to ask a pupil with some riding experience; if they know what an “indirect rein of opposition is” to instantly understand if they know how horses move in nature and what their previous equitational understanding of their own discipline has been.
I try very hard not to embarrass my pupils; resultantly, I answer many of my questions for them because I feel it is my job to enlighten them. The old teaching concepts in equitation has often been in the past; is to get on the horse and not to ask silly questions. However; for the sake of my horse’s good nature and my pupil’s safety, everything I teach, I can explain in detail. Increasingly today, in a world of instant information, most people gain a far deeper understanding of how to ride a horse, if someone bothers to tell them, how to do it well before they get anywhere near a horse!