Monday, December 26, 2011

New Students

     A while back a nice young woman asked me to teach her to ride in Trail classes and of course I happily said yes.  I really get excited about bringing new people into this part of showing horses.
     She has made much progress which delights all of us in the barn (as there is always a lot of camaraderie among people riding Trail horses!).   But, she and her horse still have much work to do before they are ready for their first show.  As she and I were discussing this, I was struck by her joyful anticipation of the work yet to be accomplished.
     My student started this goal thinking it would be much easier and quicker to learn than it actually is.  But, now confronted with the work still to be done, she is truly excited to be working towards a goal that will give her more satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.  She is not daunted by the road ahead, instead she joyfully welcomes it.  What great life lessons can be learned in pursuit of great horsemanship!   I wish everyone had the opportunity to have this experience.  I think they would all be better for it. 
     Happy New Year - see you next week! JD

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What keeps me inspired?

     What keeps me inspired?  The simple answer is the lifelong desire to be the best horseperson I could be.  I have always sought to understand the processes of training and all of the ancillary parts that make it happen.  I am still fascinated by the simple act of consistent repetition and a horse's ability to associate that with the desired response, along with the memory it takes to achieve a "trained" horse.
     I don't believe any horse is ever finished in their training.  There is always more fine tuning to do and more stylistic change to achieve.  I think this is especially true for the working horses.  Trail horses for example can always learn to do more difficult obstacles and in the process, they can become more confident.  As you gradually change and increase the levels of difficulty, a horse that has the ability and talent will be kept interested in his job.  You see this in cutting horses, reining horses and other working horses.  All of my horses have gotten better and better in their work over time (except in cases of unforeseen injury or illness). 
     I love to see a horse be proud of themselves - show off their talents - what a joy it is to watch!  Talk to you next week.  JD

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Back from vacation!

     I've just returned from vacation, time well spent to rejuvenate, reenergize and take some time to just "be".  We all need to relax and it's amazing how much clearer everything becomes.
     I believe the same is true for horses.  We always treat our own horses the way we would like to be treated.  What do I mean by that?  Try to think and react like a horse, it really helps.  Don't anthropomorphize, just empathize.  Just like us, they need some time off from training and a sometimes tough show schedule.  Even a few days can allow them the mental rest they need to be eager to resume their jobs.  We always rest our horses a day or two before a long haul and of course they always get time off even after a short show that is near home.  The horses deserve this time off and will always perform better for it. 
     See you next week!  JD