Monday, January 16, 2012

Being a Partner

     This past weekend I watched Joanne Salisbury ride her two National Champion and Reserve National Champion horses over trail obstacles during a lesson.  "Ex" and "Wes" were happily going over the short but tight schooling course I had set up.  Joanne and her horses just flowed over and around the obstacles, negotiating everything with ease.  The poles on the ground just seeming to disappear as they went over them.
     A while back another trainer noted that "Wes" just seemed to know where Joanne wanted him to go.  How does this amazing thing happen?  In short, it starts with small, easy steps and you very slowly increase the difficulty.  If you and your horse falter, go back, back to the basics if necessary.  (Incidently, we always practice basic things - no matter how advanced the horse or rider - its like a musician doing scales.)  Be patient, be a good partner to your horse - never frighten them horse with "too much" and don't get frustrated.  
     It takes time to make a team.  Two working as one is the ultimate goal of any horse endeavor.  It's fun to watch this relationship grow - I watch my client Gina and her horse Montego build trust and confidence with each ride and I love to make lessons that encourage success, not failure.      
     Confidence and trust make for a winning combination but it doesn't happen in 30 days.  It takes time and practice to learn the needed skills and then hone them like a well tuned instrument.  Talk to you next week.  JD

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