Thursday, April 12, 2012

I have been doing a lot of reading about horses and riding lately.
After officially advertising and beginning to teach riding lessons I have been pouring over every book and article I can get my hands on. Storing up information and fun ideas to help me teach little kids how to ride. Of course I have my own lesson experiences to draw from, as well as all of the informal lessons I have taught over the years to various friends and family members. But I have been learning so much recently. Not just for my students, but for my own riding and horse training as well. Chico, Lady and Sackett, my lesson horses, get to be my guinea pigs. Chico bears the brunt of it, as usual.

I have poured over Xenophon, Centered Riding, Themed Lesson Plans, Teaching Children to Ride, Happy Horsemanship, 101 Arena Exercises... just to name a few. If anyone knows where to obtain an english version of de la Gueriniere's Ecole de Cavalerie, without spending a modest fortune, I would dearly love to add that to my collection. 

My current favorite is Podhajsky's Complete Training of the Horse and Rider. Thanks to Podhajsky I finally had a much needed break through with Chico and his stiff left canter lead on the lunge line (under saddle is next). Turns out there is a reason why he was the Director of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. It also turns out that everything I learned about picking up the correct lead (under saddle or on the lunge) was an oversimplified version. I was so focused on keeping him bent on a circle that I wasn't allowing him to balance properly to free up his inside shoulder. Deep stuff that. Seems like common sense now, but I have been needing that little breakthrough for so long that I felt like shouting it from the rooftops. 

But before I completely bore you out of your mind (or maybe it's too late), I will end with an excellent Podhajsky quote from his "rewards" section which, for some odd reason, reminded me so dearly of my little Chico:

"Sensitive and affectionate horses will be satisfied with a caress, but more materialistic ones will prefer sugar or titbits."


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