Sunday, June 8, 2014


     I'm a big proponent of the KISS method of training and teaching.  For the uninitiated, KISS is the acronym that generally means "keep it simple, stupid!".  It means the gobldy-gook stops here.
     This way of viewing things, I think, is good for all - horses and students and even trainers.  One of the many reasons I believe this to be true is that so often the basics seem to get lost.  We either forget to teach them or just don't understand the importance of the basics ourselves.
     I have often said that what seems to be a rather simple concept can have far-ranging ramifications.  For example, simple things like balance or collection or momentum - what do they really mean and how do they work together?  How do we apply them?  Something so simple as moving a horse's ribcage can be so misunderstood!  Or how forehand versus haunches.  And what about a pivot on the forehand versus a true turn on the forehand?  Here's another one I see so often misunderstood:  A proper side pass and how to start it.  Yikes!  I could go on and on but I'd probably bore you!
    Here's the thing though, the future of the horse industry really depends on good training and solid teaching practices.  As we are scrutinized by "outsiders", we must rely on solid basics, not gimmicks for our wins.  True training takes time.  I have spent my lifetime thinking and learning and just plain trying to understand how and why it all comes together.  Why and how some techniques work and some don't and how they are related.  The more you understand, the easier - and simpler - everything becomes.
     Training horses is not just about being a good jockey, it's about technique and it's about understanding the way horses move.  It's about learning the basics, learning all you can about equipment and, learning to have soft hands and being wise about how to use them.  In the end though, it's about KISS.  Look, listen, learn, ask questions and KISS..... "keep it simple, smart!".   Talk to you next week, JD

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