The Iberian Experience

February 16, 2010

The Facts

Filed under: Uncategorized — iberianexperience @ 4:20 pm

To give you a better picture of what our work looked like at this phase I realized I need to provide some rudimentary facts.  So here they are. DoubleShot was about 19 months old when we really started working and she was already over 15 hands tall, but because of her age, she was unride-able. Horse’s skeletal structure is relatively soft until they reach about 3 years of age, so in an effort to preserve their cartilage like bones, trainers tend to do all their work with young horses on the ground.  This works well for two reasons: one, you cannot ride the horse at this time and two, you wouldn’t want to. The increasingly ambitions and sporadic movements of young horses are enough to throw even the most skilled rider.

 The round-pin is where most of our work time took place. This is exactly what it sounds like, a small pin that is round.  The length of our work-outs is something to mention as well. In the beginning, DoubleShot’s attention span was right about twenty minutes. Just as if one was working with a group of kindergarteners, I too had to adjust every exercise, ever expectation and filter it through the short time span of twenty minutes.  

Despite what the movies frequently portray, “breaking” a horse does NOT consist of one stubborn cowboy clinching on to the saddle while the terrified horse bucks and kicks until the horse finally reaches an epiphany, stops the bad, bucking behavior and is submissive for the rest of his days.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Sorry to burst the bubble, but that will never work, no matter how rogue the cowboy might be.  If you think back to the fact that horses are traditionally hunted animals, what does it look like when a horse is attacked by let’s say a mountain lion?  

Don’t worry; when I was asked this question by my trainer, I too had trouble answering. But again, it’s very simple, jumping on his back and not letting go.  Basically exactly what our quintessential cowboy does in the movies.

The horse needs to trust us, not fear us. Respect us yes, but not fear us. If that fear is cultivated, you will battle the animal’s flight survival instinct for the rest of your days.  Exactly why the pure element of trust has to be the most crucial facet of successful ridding, and one that is two sided. I need to trust my horse, and my horse needs to trust me.  Doubtful? Just try getting through a cross country course without trust…

See what I mean...


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