Introduction to Riding the Young Horse

Whether observing seasoned horses and riders, or novice entrants to the sport, common issues become evident in the systematic training and preparation for competition, or pleasure riding, which detract from the ability of the horse to deliver correct responses or enjoyable outcomes to the rider’s suggestions.
In many cases, communication between horse and rider is intermittent, inconsistent, misinterpreted, aggressive, or just plain incorrect. As a result, horses become distressed, distracted, angry, belligerent, frightened or downright hostile to the rider. Riders become more short-tempered, demanding, abusive or reckless, leaving the road ahead open to trauma, ruined progress, distrust or tragedy.
Unfortunately, either through lack of knowledge, preparation, guidance, support, training or coaching, riders attempt to master the skills of riding while being unaware off the dangers, perils and pitfalls which come with attempting to control a much larger animal which may or may not be prepared to oblige his rider’s whims.
As it is, riding is one of the most difficult and time-consuming sports to master that there is with proficiency taking years to accomplish. One of my most famous teachers told me…” it takes years to train a horse and a lifetime to train a rider…” Robert Hall D.B.H.S.
The language of riding must be learned to make communication with the horse possible, practical, enjoyable and stress-free. If you don’t learn the ‘rules’ of the language and the correct words and phrases, communication can only be haphazard, at best.
There are scores of exceptional books on riding penned by the masters over the last several centuries, but sadly, the majority of riders cannot admit to having read even one!
Nor, can many riders discuss the system of riding they employ or the nature of the aids and their application they utilise. Not enough riders avail themselves of the experience and expertise of knowledgable riders to enhance their journey with practical knowledge and safety tips.
The ‘riding trail’ is littered with the wreckage of riders and horses: ruined, disillusioned, crippled, or otherwise damaged due to ignorance, impatience, bull-headedness or inflated egos.
Riding and training are life-long pursuits. After 50 years of riding, I still learn new things from every horse I encounter; enjoy the struggles and successes of my students; and watch shows and competitions with never-ending enjoyment.
I will identify the issues and pitfalls and impediments to good training that I have observed over the years and which recur with frequent regularity in every discipline.

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