What’s the difference? I’ve been asked this on many occasions. In this article I’ll explain my perspective of both and the reason for my opinion.
For many years I taught basic horseback riding. At times it was very difficult for the student to understand why we were doing what it was we were doing and more importantly how the horse knew to do what we were asking it and why it responded in the way it did.
That led me to discontinue simple riding lessons. The putting someone on the horses’ back and asking them to do maneuvers the horse knew automatically but the rider not knowing how it got there.
So, that being said, when I’m asked if I teach riding lessons my answer is, yes and no. I teach horsemanship.
I believe a person needs to know about the horse before ever forking a leg over the horse. And I’m speaking about horses in general. That is why, when asked about taking riding lessons I explain the reason we begin where we begin, on the ground.
We call it, ground skills or ground manners or ground behavior. We begin by observing the horse, learning why horses do such things as they do. You will be in a classroom setting to learn certain things the horses’ body does and the usual of why it is doing it. You will learn the reason behind it. We call it “Learning the Horse’s Body Language”. This is some VERY important information that the horse handler/rider needs to know.
Using the driving a car analogy, you wouldn’t get behind the steering wheel of a car without first knowing the basics of how to operate that particular car. At least I would hope not. You shouldn’t get in the saddle without knowing the basics of how to operate the horse either.
Keep in mind, the horse has a brain and we, as much as we can, need to understand what is going on in that brain. We have to be able to think like the horse but first we have to know how the horse thinks. Learning this is not an overnight thing. It takes study, time, effort, pondering and understanding. We have to know the horse is a prey animal and will flee from danger and it needs to be us the horse has gained trust in. We have to build on that trust to begin a relationship into a partnership.
If you would like to know more or get a group together for the class, which is about 6 hours of classroom, get in touch with me at 256.874.6781 or Jim@JimSwanner.com, I’d love to speak with you..