- Which Ship are You On?
is horsemanship? In the show ring, horsemanship is described (such as by AQHA)
as a class "to evaluate the rider's ability to execute, in concert with their
horse, a set of maneuvers prescribed by the judge with precision and smoothness
while exhibiting poise and confidence, and maintaining a balanced, functional,
and fundamentally correct body position." The horse and rider should work
in complete unison; there should be subtle aids and cues. This type of horsemanship
involves showmanship and hopefully, sportsmanship. Today, show ring horsemanship
is primarily for exhibition.
When talking about everyday horse
training, horsemanship takes on a different emphasis. Although the goal is the
same as far as working in unison and subtle aids and cues, showmanship does not
come into play although it is always good to have pride in your work - so clean
tack, a well groomed horse, and tidy attire is appropriate in your back yard just
like the show ring.
And although one should always be a good
sport, sportsmanship is not usually part of horsemanship training because there
is no competition or exhibition. Training horsemanship can include ownership,
stewardship, and workmanship. If you own the horse you are training, the quality
of care you give your horse is part of horsemanship. If you keep your horse at
home, your stewardship of your horse, your facilities, and your land is part of
horsemanship. And if you care for your tack, groom your horse, your workmanship
will be evident and is part of your horsemanship.
When we work
with horses, if we want to be good horsemen and women, here are some things to
keep in mind:
1. Be safe for your sake and the horse's.
Have the good of the horse at heart.
3. Know when to push,
know when to quit.
4. Aim to have the horse be better when
you quit than when you started so that next time you go to catch him, he will
look forward to working with you.
5. Take time to master the
6. Do simple things well before attempting more complex
7. If you find yourself in danger, frustrated, abusive,
or plain just not having fun, STOP ! Get some good help or learn some techniques
or a new mindset that will help.