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Ann Clemons

the blog of author Ann Clemons

More Trends in Horsemanship

Posted by Ann Clemons on September 15, 2013
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Clinics, workshops and lessons.

The latest trend that I find interesting is riders quitting their regular lesson program….or never starting one…in favor of jumping from one clinic to another. There are many problems with this.

A lack of consistency will stall the learning process if you do not have a solid base already in place. Riders that have been studying the art of horsemanship for years should have a good base of knowledge and will be able to pick and choose from the ever growing pool of trainers, clinicians, and wanna be professionals, to find something/someone to compliment their present program.

Every trainer is individual and different. Even if they work in the same discipline, their path in getting to where they are now will not be the same as another’s. If a rider does not have the experience and groundwork to know where they are going, then laying down hundreds of dollars for a weekend with yet another clinician could wind up being a total waste of money, and a miserable experience.

How do you know what you need if you don’t know where you are or what you are lacking?

How will you know which clinician to choose if you don’t know what you and your horse need?

If you have trouble adding 2 +2…chances are you will have little understanding of Algebra.

In other words…the knowledge you take with you to a clinic is going to determine how much knowledge you leave with.

I know of very few clinicians that are going to put you on a longe line without stirrups to teach you to sit the trot. That is the kind of thing you learn at home with your regular instructor through consistent practice and preparation. Being able to sit the trot properly will open the door for you to learn how to use your seat in an unlimited number of ways for many disciplines.

You aren’t going to learn how to half-halt, collect, have the proper use of leg aids, do slide stops…or..? The list goes on and on of the things that require the correct use of seat. So if you go to a clinic and don’t have correct use of seat, there could be  many new and wonderful teachings that you won’t understand or be capable of doing.

Be prepared! Do your work! Find a professional to help you lay your ground work so that all of those wonderful traveling clinicians/trainer/horse whisperers out there can share their talents with riders that can appreciate and enjoy what they have to offer.

 

Trends

Posted by Ann Clemons on August 30, 2013
Posted in Equestrian ArtsWhats inside  | No Comments yet, please leave one

Horse showing, like the fashion world, is all about trends. We would like to think that it is about correct training and showing the progress that you and your equine partner are making together, but after 40 yrs in the business, I can tell you  that it is about trends.

There are trends in the clothing, trends in the colors  and types of tack. Even trends in the brands of tack and clothing.

There are trends in the methods of feeding show and performance horses

And yes…trends in the training.

Often these trends have little to do with what is practical, good for the horse or rider,.

Take, for instance, the trends in Western Pleasure. According to the AQHA rule book, and the videos the AQHA put out describing each class that their shows offer, and a book written by Don Burt, a veteran AQHA judge……..a horse should move with a natural frame and self carriage with the poll never below the withers. Their gates should have a natural impulsion and show expression and suspension.

And yet, time after time, year after year, show after show, what do we see? “Peanut rollers”.

Horses moving at a stilted snails pace. Many of them having been forced out of their natural gates and into a shuffling gate with no life or rhythm. Their noses are forced down to the ground (hence peanut roller) and their riders are stiff in the saddle and almost continually “bumping”(jerking) the horse with the reins and jabbing them with spurs.

In this frame and way of going there is no chance for a natural collection, or self carriage , or suspension. AND this way of going is grounds for disqualification in an AQHA show.

Yet we see it, and we see it all the time, and we see it WIN!  A dangerous trend. A trend that instead gradually phasing out, is being used on the “Hunter under saddle” horses, and now extending to the reining horse training and showing!

So I am wondering…and have been wondering for years…why people wish to destroy the natural beauty of these incredible animals that will go out of their way to please a human? Even a ridiculous human.

It is not just the Western world that is guilty of this.

Dressage has been around for thousands of years. Dressage incorporates levels for the horse rider to promote correct fitness and training. Dressage was the method of training for military mounts and in the courts of European royalty for centuries. Dressage has undergone trends over the centuries, but in the end, usually goes back to the original, Classical way of training because that is what makes it practical, beautiful, healthy and real.Classical training was developed over the centuries because it WORKED! And yet……

Now there are new trends in Dressage that are working at destroying the natural grace, beauty and movement of the horse /rider partnership. It is a human’s need to control.

You cannot pull a horse’s head into its chest with a strong bit, and spur it forward and torture his movement and create ANYTHING beautiful, practical or correct!

The beauty of a horse is their freedom, their spirit and their natural flare…AND…perhaps most importantly, their willingness to share all of that with us pitiful humans that have such horrible handicaps built into our DNA such as that need for total control…and ego.