|Photo from www.care2.com|
|Photo from www.care2.com|
|Photo from www.horseforum.com|
I've been away from the blog loop for a while - very busy with a new venture, and with spending some thoughtful time trying to figure out more about Bruno. My riding trainer has been away at shows, so that leaves me time to experiment on my own.
I was moved and inspired to try a different approach in my riding by a movie I recently watched. It's called "Buck", and is about a cowboy-type "horse whisperer" from the States. He actually worked with Robert Redford on the film "The Horse Whisperer". Buck Brannaman is an amazing man, who overcame his early years of physical abuse by his father to become a gentle and sensitive and knowledgeable horse trainer. Two things really struck me in the movie. One was a horse that had been so very badly spoiled that it had become a killer. There was a scene where the horse actually lunged at a man in the training pen with him, bit his face to the bone, and then jumped on him to finish him off. Unfortunately, the horse will have to be euthanized. The other thing that stuck in my mind was a comment Buck made ... "Control the feet, and you control the horse."
We humans are all so very hand-oriented. If we want something done, we use our hands. This most definitely does not work with horses. They don't like someone on their back constantly pulling and jabbing at their mouths. Believe me, it is SO difficult to resist the almost automatic reaction to fix something the horse is doing with your hands. But I have spent the past couple of weeks making a very conscious effort to NOT use my hands. I am using leg aides only to steer and encourage his forward movement. It was awkward at first for both of us, but gradually Bruno has been responding beautifully. And I know he appreciates it. He is always happy to see me, welcoming me with a whinny or nicker, and he is keen to go for a ride, eagerly accepting the bridle. I have seen some videos of people riding without bridles or with just string in the horse's mouth. I can only aspire to reach that level of intimate communication with a horse sometime in the future.
The photos at the top of the page are of a technique called rollkur or hyper-flexion. Unfortunately the method has become popular in the dressage world. You can see that the horse's head is so tightly cranked in that it can hardly breathe. I most vehemently do NOT consider this an art form in riding!
I must add, I love my riding instructor. She is always positive, and is definitely on the horses' side. She brings me back to earth in my riding. I tend to disappear off into the clouds. It's the artist in me! :)
Thank you for dropping by. and, as always, your comments are welcome.