The Power of Walk


Sit down with a nice cup of tea and have a read of Diana's latest horsey posts.


Dec 26, 2023

“I taught myself to ride as a child in a GP saddle/ with no saddle at all on a naughty pony that bolted and bucked me off frequently.” - a story told by many successful horse people.I have a similar story, spending hours taking out the riding school ponies that were too “naughty” to be used in the school, on long picnic rides. I am grateful for this experience, and definitely learned some wonderful skills along the way.Maybe it is this commonly shared experience that has led to a general attitude in the horse world that making things easier is cheating.Examples of things that I have heard termed “cheating”:        1.      Using a saddle with correct seat balance and stirrup bar placement to support the rider in a good position (this feels nicer for the horse and means that the rider doesn’t have to put all their focus on keeping in alignment, and can relax more)        2.      Using voice aids - this acts as a useful bridge between groundwork and ridden work and helps  the horse understand what you are asking for        3.      Teaching a new movement and then asking for it in the same part of the arena every time - this sets the horse up for success as they can guess at what is wanted and get rewarded for the right answer, which gives them a positive association with the new movement while they are still learning the aids.        4.      Learning to ride on a highly educated schoolmaster - this gives a feel for the correct movements and aids so that you can be clear to any other horses you ride or train even if they are not as educated.        5.      Teaching the horse something new from the ground first - it is usually easier to show a horse something from the ground so will be more enjoyable and less frustrating.        6.      Getting off and leading the horse past something that they find scary - the horse experiences much better learning from a confident human on the ground than a nervous or annoyed human trying to get them go from the saddle.        7.      Asking someone more confident to ride your horse for the first time in new situations that you are nervous about - provided you find the right person, this can be invaluable as it helps both you and the horse to feel more confident.In all of these instances, the “cheating” is actually helpful and supportive for the horse and the rider, and means that you can focus your energy on the things that matter.. connection, quality of work and enjoyment of the activity!The concept of “cheating” is really only valid if we are in some kind of crazy competition with each other about who can get results in the hardest and most frustrating way possible.Photos:        1.      How I learned to ride. I had a wonderful time and am grateful for all the experiences. Luckily, I didn’t die 😂        2.      Another way to learn.. the amazing child riders Carminho Filipe and Lara Carreiara. Yes they may have had different opportunities to me but probably put in the same amount of effort. They weren’t cheating, but the opportunities they had enabled them to put all of their energy into becoming amazing riders (instead of merely surviving 😂)We can all make small choices which help us direct our energy towards our goals, and letting go of the concept of cheating is a good first step.

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