If you have followed my blog thus far you will probably be beginning to realise, as am I, that this goal of being at one with our horse is not easily attained. And yet now I am beginning to understand the true nature and needs of the horse it has become impossible not to commit to this path. It also is not a matter of ‘trying harder’ I need to ‘try different’.
I am realising that I have very often wasted time and energy asking myself the wrong questions. Worse still I sometimes haven’t asked any questions at all! Often just taking on board instructions and information verbatim never questioning why? Why am I doing this? Why is this the way it needs to be done?
Before I came to Pippsway I never asked myself why a drop noseband may be necessary? Why do we need martingales? Why do we need a stronger bit? Pip has taught me that the answer to all these questions is that we should never need any of these things. If my horse is opening his mouth to escape from the pain from his bit, rather than using a noseband to close his mouth, I should ask myself ‘Why is my horse doing that? What is he telling me?’. If my horse runs around with his head in the air I should question why, not use a martingale to hold his head in place. If my horse does not respond to the bit in his mouth I shouldn’t simply get a harsher one. Yes these are all things I was taught in the past but the time has come to ask myself is what I have been taught correct? The right answer is clearly no!
There is no question that learning to communicate with our horses takes time and effort. Training our horse to hold himself in self carriage, to develop the appropriate musculature to comfortably carry a rider, to attain the level of connection with our horse necessary to understand him and so that he can understand us takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. Even to learn to ride properly and gain the requisite level of fitness and flexibility so we can maintain our own balance and absorb the movement of our horse takes time, effort and commitment. There are those who choose to ignore the needs of their horse and get the result they want quickly through the use of tack. He deserves so much more than this! So we have to ask ourselves, do we want our horse as our tool? Or as our partner?
Better then to take on the challenge of improving ourselves. Educating ourselves on what our horses wants and needs truly are and then doing all that we can to honor them. That is Pippsway.