Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I think people are finally starting to see the light!

Or at least manage to find the COTH message boards when they google "horse care" and such.

I've been riding at an adorable little lesson barn in Florida this past month, as I've been here working. This morning as I was untacking a new student and her mother showed up. I overheard the following conversation with the BO:

"We were wanting to get (daughter) her own horse, but after doing a bunch of research on the internet I decided we have NO idea what we're doing - so I want (daughter) to take at least a year of lessons first before we go out an buy her a horse. Before doing the research we were thinking we should get her a young horse - which I now know was totally the oposite, and we also have a lot of work that needs to be done to the property to get it ready, so a year will give us time to replace the fence and build a shelter."

I wanted to run over and give this woman a huge hug. These are responcible horse owners in the making, and I hope to see more and more like her!

Little bit about the new place by the way - total diamond in the rough for me. It's a small and reasonably new facility, they just opened about 9 months ago. The BO is somewhat inexperienced but responcible young lady, that has pulled together some ex-trail horses to teach beginner lessons on.

The little mare I chose is a 14.2 hand crabby paint that spent too many years in a trail string, but with a little persistence she's got some nice work in her. She bucks, and is nappy but in a controlable way, so this is giving me valueable time just riding through bad behavior without getting scared or panicky. Here is what miss Ellie looks like :)

I've got another 2 weeks with her - I'm hoping to leave her with a few more basics that will help this lady with her lesson program.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Why riding is like Star Wars

Today we have an entry from a guest blogger - my good friend and trainer Heather Campbell.

She recently participated in a Dressage clinic with Eddo Hoekstra, and had a great time, as well as some realizations that really apply to all of us.  Below is a copy of the letter she sent to Eddo the day following the clinic:

I want to share with you a few things. Everyone in the barn thought you were the best clinician they had ever worked with. Everyone took something home with them. I was very pleased! Even the Barn owner wanted to sign up at the last minute! You were great with everyone. Thank you. :).

It was nice to have you over for the weekend and I spent some thought on our discussions about showing and the state of the horse world. When you asked me why I quit showing well It took my session with you at the end of the day and another 12 hours of thinking to put my finger on it exactly....although I think I already knew.

Ready (this should almost be a published article).

Riding is Like Star Wars.

When I was talking with you over breakfast and then we were having our session, I felt like young Luke Skywalker. You are Yoda. Balance. Feel the force.
Its so easy to go to the dark side, to bully crank and push our horses, and so much harder to just let go and wait for everything to balance worry about myself let my horse have a say land let great things happen. (moment of brilliance).

I realized at that moment why I quit showing. As a professional I was expected to go in the show ring and win. Often this is rushed by the owner of the horse. (Right now the people who own the Vanner keep asking me WHEN I am going to get on him) Well I just got him Friday he doesn't know me and I don't know him I like to take my time so we have a relationship based on trust. He is 3. I want him to feel confident and happy. It seems that in today's world the emphasis is on winning and money. Quantity not quality. Its a shame.

Anyhow thanks. The reason I quit showing is because I like to win and especially when faced with a paying client...who is expecting more, I will cheat. I will use the methods I know to quickly get the result (and marks) I need. I don't hurt my horses but at the end of the day their opinion is not considered I'm not riding true. I quit because I want to be a Jedi master. I want to take the time and Not take short cuts, Id rather work now on what we did and keep reminding myself to just balance and be quiet. So I can get more input in June from both Walter (Zettle) and hopefully yourself. More then I want to show and win ribbons.

I needed that.

(See it sunk in)
Oh yes and if you have been under a Rock somewhere and not seen Star Wars..Well you should watch it.

This is of course the lovely horse that Heather was riding (though the pic is clearly from the summer).

Big thanks to Heather for allowing me to post her letter on our blog - I found it insirational and hope you do as well.