I'm Anna from NZ and I'm looking forward to asking you guys lots of questions... but thought I should introduce myself first
So for a long time I have been looking for better ways of riding and training than what I was being taught. But recently I have got to the point were I can't ride anymore until I work this out. I feel like an absolute beginner again, its kind of scary, but exciting at the same time.
A bit of background. I got my first pony at age 5, but had been having goes on Mum's horses all my life. I went through Pony Club and had dressage lessons and show jumping lessons, and eventing lessons, from many different instructors who where at the top of their sports. I was very lucky to grow up on a farm where I could ride my horses and ponies out over the hills and down at the river and have great adventures
much of the time this was bareback and in a halter.
I had a lot of success in the competition world, but I could never quite work a few things out. If my riding and these training methods where so good like my trainers said they were, why did some of my horses have scars in their mouths, why did they bleed? (
yes, I'm horrified at my self, but lets be honest) Why did I need this bit or that bit? A crank nose band? Why did I need to make that flash tighter? How was it good to ride my horse in endless circles with the reins so tight that I couldn't physically hold it, I had to hold a strap on the saddle (no wonder their mouths were broken), until they "softened" and gave in.
If these training methods were so good for the horses, if riding them super deep was so good for their back, why did the horses need so much therapy? Why was there so many saddle issues? Soundness issues? Horses with buggered joints, side bone, navicular, horses that couldn't cope without shoes, then went unsound even with shoes on?
Even when I was doing most of my competing and riding like this (in my teens) I was trying to find the answers. I took my horses barefoot, I rode bitless, I tried treeless saddles (that one was a disaster), I stopped taking dressage lessons and started trying t work out better ways for myself. I did make process, but nothing ever satisfied me.
For two years I worked for a Natural Horsemanship trainer, there were many things I liked, still many things I didn't. It was still always towards the same goal; to win competitions and sell horses for lots of money.
So I gave up competing, I gave up a career with horses. I decided I just wanted to enjoy my own horse. I became an outdoor instructor which I love and I just have one horse who helps to keep me sane when I have had enough of people
For the past few years I have been practicing more gentle ways of training, but still
nothing has quite satisfied me. In the past few months I have realised that I need to give up everything I think I know, and start again. I haven't ridden for months, we just play, run around together and explore. I am doing lots and lots of reading, many books that I have read before, but you just can't 'get' what they are saying properly when you are still trying to achieve "traditional" goals.
So I hope to be able to learn lots on here with you guys and hopefully have something to offer as well
This is Ra, he's been with me his whole life. I think hes about 8 now. There will be lots more about him in other posts I'm sure...