May 2, 2011

Redefining Horse/Rider Communication

I apologize for the lack of posting lately.  Without my trainer, I have nowhere to ride (thanks, middle-of-nowhere Indiana) and so I haven't seen a horse in weeks.   It's given me a lot of time to think about riding and develop my riding theory, though.

My whole definition of communicating with horses has changed in the past four months.  Previously, I thought that training a horse involved putting a bunch of buttons on it, and riding a horse involved pushing those buttons: push A, get B, push C, get D.  I thought that riding was the art of learning to use those buttons.

Since starting Dressage, however, I've changed that definition.  I believe that riding, even "finished" horses, involves using your body to influence your horse in such a way that you show him what to do with his body, every single time.  You are literally communicating with each other, and it's not a one-way stream of commands.  When she tells me, "You've almost got it, but you need to tell him to step under himself more," and then I get the movement correct when I add more of the right aid, that's not just learning, that's riding.

You can tell that this concept is still fuzzy for me by how poorly I'm describing what I mean, but it's never more clear to me than when she describes learning a new movement as "not giving him any other options except what you want him to do."  Every ride, every time.

Am I on the right track with this?

1 comment:

  1. Most definitely! I spent many years 'auditing' my daughter's lessons until I was fortunate enough to get my own horse. Of course, learning to ride and training a greenie are not the ideal - but OMG I am learning so much this way!