Saturday, December 4, 2010

Good horsemen are always good

I am running on adrenaline, one of my young horses did his first 1.20m showjumping round and he was awesome. But this is probably in part because i spent the two day prior training with Mark Todd. AS in Mark Todd the living legend, voted rider of the century in 2000. The double Olympic gold medalist, who has taken more horses around international three day eventing courses than i can count. he is the absolute master, of the sport. The Roger Federer of three day eventing.

he is known for his ability to get on any horse and get the best out of it no matter what.

incidentally the Dressage trainer that i worked for straight out of high school, trained Mark, before his Olympic win, and has himself produced many,many horses to Grand Prix. The thing that struck me most with my two lessons was that this guy was a great horseman. he understood horses and understood how to train them. i have never taken so much away from a lesson. It was amazing.

Do you know what i have found though, good horsemanship is the same no matter what discipline you choose. Mark Todd, the dressage trainer, a couple of cowboys whom i greatly respect, they all have the same philosophy, in the end want the same results. They just apply it to different aspects of the horse sport. Horses have to be soft, responsive. the rider has to be focused, kind and consistent.

Secondly there is no magic button. The difference between those who get to the top and those who don't. Is that one group puts the hundreds of hours and consistency, accuracy and understanding into producing a horse, the other group doesn't. Every rider i have met that can keep training horse after horse to the top level, no matter what sport, has the same principles.the horse has to be
  • responsive to the aids( as in react as soon as you ask)
  • adjustable/supple (as in speed, direction, length of stride etc)
  • the horse has to do this work happily

this takes hundreds of hours in the saddle.No matter how talented, how big a piece of metal you stick in their mouth, your bank balance, or what saddle you use, is going to replace the training you put into your horse.

There is so much you cant control with horses. But the rider, no matter how untalented/ talented the horse (whether it was born free on the ranges or in the best European stable), no matter how Little natural ability it may have for its chosen discipline, can control how well the horse understands what being asked, how responsive it is and how soft and happy it is in it s work. The great horsemen prove this again and again, they improve with training any horse they sit on. no matter what the horse was like to start with. This Inspires Me. Unfortunately i am too broke at the moment, to have afforded a private lesson, but going in a group one i watched Mark Todd get 5 very different horses and riders improving and going a lot better than when they started. This is the mark of a true horseman i think.

could go on and on but...i think i get a bit off topic

One little thing annoyed me though. someone asked me how my wild horses were going. i said great and went into detail about how happy i was with them, that i thought they'd both be able to jump etc etc. Then one girl piped up that she had had been to look at buying one from a different muster, except when they went to look at it, it jumped a 7ft fence to get away from them, and that therefore wild horses were all crazy......grrr grinds my gears. sure if you chase a horse that has been wild around a paddock, and nobody's bothered to handle or train, it going to jump the fence. I would too. it probably thinks you a monster coming to get horse steak for dinner....