The training of the rider
In everyday rider’s training we can find so much insecurity and so many different opinions about the correct sequence of teachings.
Questions and answers…
What are the logical and consecutive steps in the training of a rider? What should be learned first, what second? What should we pay attention to? Should a beginner start out with or without stirrups, first in the half seat or in the full seat?... There are surely many different answers to questions like these.
Riding is a very special sport. In all other types of sport the training is broken down in precise and systematically arranged steps. The process of learning how to ride cannot be forced into a general pattern because riding depends not only on us but expecially on the horse and on our ability to communicate with him and understand what he wants to tell us.
Riding cannot be learned following a rigid system. Normally, the riding doctrine divides the learning into seat, aids, feel and influence.
Contact with the horse is the most important basic requirement for making learning possible. A good inner direct line to the horse dismantles fear and creates a situation of mutual trust. Such a connection with the horse is stronger than technical skill.
The really great achievements are based on this inner contact, this mutual feeling between rider and horse.
The first goal demanded from the rider on horse is balance.
Without balance you would fall off or would have to told on with pure strength.The development of balance, expecially for the upper body, is prerequisite for any future equestrian education. Ride sometimes without the saddle in order to feel the horse’s movements directly and to be forced to react accordingly. To be able to balance on the horse’s back in each gait is the first goal of a beginner rider. Once balance is achieved in a movement, we do not have to expend any more strength than necessary for a certain situation. No muscle is permanently in tension, but rather a rhythmic tightening and relaxing of the muscles according to the horses’s movement. Suppleness is not to be confused with looseness or limpness of the muscles. Muscles work economically under the correct suppleness. Only a relaxed seat creates the basis for finely tuned aids.
A deep and secure seat is the prerequisite of effective influence. Part of the secret of good riding is to be able to control the horse without tension and only with the seat. The rider then sits ‘in the horse’, non ‘on the horse’. Horse and rider become one.
The feel of the rider, the optimal communication between horse and rider is to be regarded as the climax of all equestrian abilities. This feel sometimes can be the innate privilege of some few highly gifted talents, but it can be a major learning goal of any rider. The sensitive communication with the horse must be learned and taught from the very first lesson on.
This is the only way the rider will eventually achieve the skill to apply aids harmoniously to the task at hand and at the same time to the reactions of the horse.