I recently had an opportunity to ride Smart Koki Joe, a highly trained cutting horse, owned by Don Halladay. What an experience!
"Natural Horsemanship Principle # 7 Horses teach riders, riders teach horses" – Pat Parelli.
Riding Koki showed me how a well trained cutting horse should feel, giving me a chance to experience how the more refined manoeuvres feel while riding. The response Koki gave to the lightest of aids and commitment to his responsibilities was incredible.
Don't buy a green horse if you're not experienced with horses. Buy a horse that you are able to ride, is dependable and will put up with your inexperience. This will give you an opportunity to learn and develop knowledge and skills with horses.
There is a lot more to horses than just riding. Commonly, one of the worst things that happen when you first get into horses is that you think all you have to do is just get on and ride. No wonder there are so many failed horse human partnerships.
To have success with horses we need to be far more than riders for our horses; we need to be part trainer, part equine psychologist and part equine behaviourist.
It is not until your horse is confident, calm and willing that you can develop your feel, posture, position, technique and advance your skills as a rider. For us to get our horses to the point where we can develop as riders we first need to address other issues in training, psychology and behaviour.
As a horse trainer it is your responsibility to teach your horse what you need and want him to know. As his teacher you need to be a good communicator, have a plan, and be knowledgeable, disciplined, patient, and focused.
Having an understanding of equine psychology will allow you to engage your horse's mind, rather than manipulate him against his will using physical force. It's about getting your idea to become your horse's idea, but understanding your horse's idea first, knowing what strategies to use in the appropriate moment. This knowledge will help guide you; when to retreat or use reverse psychology, and when to be progressive, provocative and make rapid progress.
Having a plan that allows for productive training sessions is instrumental in being progressive with our horse. The importance of being flexible in our training to match our horse's behaviour is necessary and knowing and understanding when to use Behavioural Balancing exercises will be the key.
By being more than just a rider we are committing to be a horseman. Now it is our responsibility to develop ourselves and develop our horses.Todd Owens
Licensed Parelli Professional
3 Star Junior Parelli Instructor
Parelli: A foundation for performance
Reined Cow Horse Competition, Sarasota, Florida, 2012
Todd Owens riding Mango owned by Caton Parelli
|Parelli ~ A Foundation
Watch Todd on YouTube!
Watch Todd Owens on Sailing Smart
in a reining/cutting competition