Friday, April 22, 2011

In praise of difficult horses.
It is funny I own two Arabs since when I was a younger I said they were too hot, and too smart and I didn't want one of my own. The only Arabs I was working with were all in retraining and had major trust and behavioral issues due to past owner and training, they were like the other horses in for retraining except 1000 times more reactive, easily offended and neurotic, I eventually found I really like working with sensitive horses and have a real knack for it.

There are two main types of sensitive horses, the ones who are smart and the ones who are dumb and over reactive as a result. With the smart ones you have to set out each thing so they really understand and have some exercises to fall back on when they get reactive or overwhelmed, basically you do the same thing for the dumb ones but it is less fun(hah). In a perfect world I would have my own training facilities and get paid to put miles on greenies and retrain horses with issues, I enjoy many other aspects of horses but that is really where my heart is.

Riding a sensitive horse is a little different since everything you do matters and you have to manage them a bit more, really set them up to succeed. It makes you more of a compassionate and aware rider. Honestly riding sensitive greenies has been great practice for training any horse because they take the normal young horseness and multiply it. I also love riding green horses, I think it is a lot of fun, it is also a lot of work. You can be an excellent rider and not be good with greenies, since it is not just about equitation. I think some of the keys to being good with a green horse are you have to be very very very confident, willing to explain the same thing over and over until they get it and willing to work with the horse you have that day (and not what the can become) It takes time to develop the trust and understanding. Any horse can be trained to respond to light and subtle cues, but a sensitive horse can get there faster just by their nature.I love how light and balanced Joy and I can be,she is also a big tattletale since if my position is off she reflects that immediately, 

I bought Joy based on her athletic ability not her breed, when I saw what a nice balanced mover she is I was sold. I now have a desire to show people what a nice Arab can do, not just in the breed shows but competing in a real discipline with all different types of horse. In my opinion it is far more impressive to correctly train an average horse and bring it through the levels then buying some flashy thing that will look nice at shows and some judges will place high. In dressage(and training, since dressage means training) at the end of the day isn't it supposed to be about bettering the horse? .

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