Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dressage gets The Colbert Bump

A wonderful thing happened recently in the horse world.  Thanks to The Colbert Report and Stephen Colbert with the help of Michael Barisone millions of people have been introduced to the sport of dressage and the world of horses.

Be prepared to laugh, I know I sure did; and be sure to share it with all your horsey and non friends. 

                                   Image from The Chronicle of the Horse

Stephen's Dressage Training Pt. 1
Stephen's Dressage Training Pt. 2 

And for a behind the scenes look check out this from The Chronicle of the Horse. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Modern times, modern training problems

"It's my money and I need it now!"

Many of us have heard this annoying advertisement and yet many of us use the same philosophy in our horse life.

 "It's my horse and I need him to ___________ now!"

How did we get here?  When did we trade horsemanship for showmanship?

It happened when we put horsemanship on a deadline.  We need our horse to do ___________ because we have a show, trail ride, etc.  We have a date on the calendar which we can not ignore.

Now deadlines are not absolutely evil.  They can prompt us to ride, train, and can offer a gauge to our progress.  But they more often lead to short cuts in training which may pay off in the short term, but will eventually create major issues in the long run.  

I had a child horsehood without deadlines, yes I still had major horse events but I was taught as a small child that a horse will always show you what he needs, and that if he is not doing it he is not ready for it.  Knowing this I rode until things got better, I rode until things clicked and my horse was ready, and then I rode even more.

I was taught that good horses are born but great horses are made and that every great horse had someone in their life willing to ride through it all to find the wonderful horse inside.

As I've gotten older I have realized that what I learned as a kid is the right way.  There is no magic trick to fix your problems except to go back to the basics.  It takes me 4-5 years to "finish" (for lack of a better term, because you can always improve, horses are never finished in my book) a horse. How long does it take you?

Just ride, things will get better. Eventually everything will come together.  I promise.