What is your goal?
As I’m the one writing this blog it is, inevitably, specifically about me and my horse, our journey together into Pippsway of Classical Natural Horsemanship and therefore documents only my personal experiences of learning how to ride properly. Being able to ride properly was the goal I outlined to Pip on my very first day at Pippsway and she immediately began the endeavour of teaching me exactly that. The reason I say this is because if you’re reading my blog and thinking “oh, I couldn’t be bothered with all that” then rest assured, you don’t have to be! Yes, Pip insists that people reach a certain level and that is the level where they are capable of riding safely and without harming their horse. After that? The choice is entirely yours.
There comes a point in every undertaking where the enormity of the task at hand becomes apparent. I’ve often heard people say of things in their lives “I’m so glad I didn’t know how hard ‘X’ was going to be or I’d never have started!”. I don’t feel like that about the Art of Horsemanship. When I realised just how much effort it would take to get where I wanted to be, I felt excited at the prospect. Yes it has been enormously challenging, I’ve had to get fitter, lose weight and I work on my focus and awareness every single day, but it’s also been truly life changing and I know that, for as long as I am physically able, I will be striving to improve upon my riding and reach the very highest level that I am capable of. A quest that's going to keep me occupied for the rest of my life! I’m no natural horsewoman, as is apparent from my blog, but I absolutely love learning horsemanship and it’s been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Every single lesson I have with Pip serves to 'sharpen my pencil' as she puts it. She knows what I want and every time I come to the yard she does all she can to ensure that I get there!
Pip understands, however, that not everyone wants to dedicate themselves to being the very best rider they can be. Some people just want to be able to turn up at the yard, go out on a hack and then head home, and that’s fine too! In fact, were it not my goal to constantly improve, Pip and I would have made some very different choices. For example, I wouldn’t have bought Bronson. He’s far from the easiest horse in the world to ride, as he has a very large movement, and he’s a rehabilitation case with a history of bucking and rearing. Pip and I entered into our agreement on the understanding that presently he is too much horse for me, but knowing that in a year or two he will be perfect for me and he will certainly always challenge me. So it was agreed that I could buy him providing he remain in full training livery with Pip, so that she can continue with his rehabilitation, that I follow her every instruction and continue to have regular lessons. This way Bronson and I are able to work together safely, despite the lack in my ability. For me to work with a horse like Bronson under any other arrangement would be insensible!
However, had I been contented to stay at my current level of riding, we would have chosen a very different horse, the horse that would be right for me now. I could have been doing all sorts of things already that I am only working towards with Bronson. This is my choice and one I am very happy with, as I know there is no chance of me ever tiring of our partnership. I simply adore Bronson and it's a privilege to get to work with him, something I am struck by every time I come to the yard. As I often say, he's my dream horse!
So whatever your goal, regardless of how lowly or lofty it seems, Pip can take you there. You and your horse will have your own journey into Pippsway and, whilst it will no doubt vary from mine, the one thing I do know is that life for you and your horse will never be the same again. Pippsway will open up your relationship with your horse in ways you can only dream of!