Last edited December 15, 2010
Me and Pickle, Felt Lake
The Truth about Training
Finding the Right Trainer for You
Watch horses in nature, or in a pasture at feeding time. Learn what natural horse behavior is. We do not want our horses to behave as they behave in nature or as they behave with one another--bitting, pawing, kicking, rearing... We want them to be trained to be safe for us to handle, be around and to ride.
Horses are born with a disposition that is much like our personalities. Some are more quiet and placid, some are more sensitive and reactive, some are more brave and curious, some are more fearful and reatreating.
Good riders look good on trained horses, and an untrained horse will make a good rider look poor. A good rider is not necessairily a good trainer. Looking good on a horse is very different than making a horse behave in certain ways.Can anyone learn to train a horse?
First of all, you should ask yourself some questions, bearing in mind there may not be a "right" answer, but merely a choice.
These are questions I think about. Because, yes, when I can afford it I like to work with other trainers, especially those with more specific discipline knowledge. Being a trainer, sometimes it is difficult to find a peer who will dialogue with me. I will not give up or abdicate the values I have about training or caring for my own horses. I have in the past, and now I choose not to comprise my values, experience or "gut feel". I am very willing to acknowledge different approaches, and am willing to try most anything so long as it does not compromise my safety or my horses safety. I do not need to be in a hurry and when I feel like I am having trouble. I am happy with smaller improvements. I do not want to be criticized when I am having trouble. I do not want to be "shut-down" when I am asking questions.
Finding the right people to train and ride with is a tall order.
I often recieve email/promos promoting certain methods
One that particularly caught my attention was a video about "Core Fitness for Equestrians" that promoted human physical fitness training as a way to "mimic" riding and train the riding muscles. I asked Jeffry Mathis, MA,(Jeffry.Mathis@evc.edu )a college instructor, to review the ad. Jeffry has been an instructor on training and training principles, as we as an avid on the ground fitness coach and trainer.
As a horse person, I couldn't have said it better.... It is so difficult to describe the forces that are applied to us as riders. I think this email from a reputable source explains why there is no substitue for riding to make riding muscles be fit!
what they are doing is extremely low-intensity[ ,... ]A horse is constantly moving, and, often, not smoothly, this constant moving and "shaking" causes a lateral loading that is not trained for in the controlled motion that they are doing in the video. In other words, riders don't fall because a horse is being good and moving perfectly forward; horses change direction, trip, stumble, are "lazy" with there feet. This is why people fall. This sudden shift changes the load that the body has to deal with. for example, if a horse just stands still, you are required only to deal with the load created by your body, and balance it on the horse. If a horse stumbles, the body must immediately be able to correct for this change in balance at a load greater than body weight. [approx a load of 1000lbs]
You can compare this to jumping. if you can squat with your own body weight, that's great, but any kind of jump training forces the body to deal with a much greater load (weight * gravity), and that load is moving, which makes it infinitely more difficult than just doing a regular body-weight squat.
If you train with slow, controlled squats (the horse advertising video) ,and are suddenly required to deal with jump squats (actually riding), you're still going to have trouble. You won't have as much trouble as someone who has been doing nothing, but there are better ways to train. The problem is that the better/best ways to train are not as easy as the cute little video.
© Christine Amber, MA, EquestrainTraining.com 1998 - 2008
Equestrian training.com is a small, personal horse training barn and riding club in Gilroy, Ca. (South San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley) where owner/trainer Christine Amber trains horses and riders. Equestrian Training's focus is teaching adults and teems about, caring for, riding , keeping and owning horses as well as developing safe, strong, and sensible riding skills. You can take private riding lessons in English or Western Riding. You can join the riding club which emphasizes horses as a lifestyle that encompasses exercise, recreation, fun and a significant time commitment of three rides or group lesson a week. Equestrian Training's horse training focuses on foundations that develop safety, relationship, willingness, obedience and balance in an athletic horse.