Horse Training and Riding Rules

Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at
from Cherry Hill

101 Arena Exercises
Western Exercises
Pocket Guides
  English Exercises
Pocket Guides
Becoming An Effective Rider
101 Longeing and Long Lining Exeercises
Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage
Your Horse Barn DVD

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No Absolutes

  2006 Cherry Hill

With riding and horse training, there are no absolute rules. What may work wonders with one horse and one rider in one situation may be completely wrong in another set of circumstances. Learning how to ride a horse "on the bit," for example, is excellent for dressage lessons in a ring, but the same principles would be difficult and inappropriate to use when shinnying down a rock slope.

Similarly, the recipe-like instructions that are included in many how-to books on riding are based on ideal situations and must be modified each time they are applied. For example, at the very beginning of things, the instructions for mounting may direct you to keep light contact with your left hand on the reins. But if the horse backs up as you begin to mount, then you must loosen the contact on the reins, perhaps to the point of slack reins if that is how the horse has been trained. You must adapt ideal rules to each situation in order to "get the job done" — in this case, to mount. The ideal provides you with a safe, tested, recommended method — a base to start from, a goal to work toward — but sometimes the ideal is not appropriate if followed to the letter. Ideal principles must be interpreted and adjusted according to your physique, skill level, mental attitude, the horse's physique and level of training, and the tack being used.

When comparing western, hunt seat, saddle seat, and dressage styles of riding, the NO ABSOLUTES rule is particularly obvious. Since there is much variation among riding styles regarding training techniques, tack, rider position, and intended purpose, it would be futile to try to set an absolute standard for the proper length of the stirrups, for example. A dressage-length stirrup might be dangerously long for jumping and an endurance-length stirrup would be inappropriate for cutting. Additionally, for security a beginner rider in any discipline often rides with shorter stirrups than a more advanced rider.

In spite of the wide variation in riding styles, some basic concepts of rider development and horse handling are common to all forms of riding. Your goal might be to develop your own personal and effective riding style. Universal concepts and principles will be applicable whether you are a beginning or advanced rider.



  2004Cherry Hill

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