Let’s get things into perspective. If a sport such as rugby, hockey, netball was only suitable when everything was super safe, would anyone be watching? In any sport there is some risk, and even girls are expected to adapt to that risk. Shouldn’t we just re-consider our views on horsemanship a little? Haven’t we created a generation of “horsemen” who almost fit into the “sissy” category?
So, to get back to the point of defining “horsemanship”.
Shouldn’t we consider seeing horsemanship as the ability to train spooky, undisciplined, unsafe horses, to become calm, safe, disciplined and confident mounts? If pupils never get exposure to anything more than the 95% predictable, will they ever become anything more than horse passengers?
So, what is an alternative approach or criterion for good, practical coaching and a valuable manual on horsemanship?
If we set the ability to handle or correct a problem horse as the criterion, won’t that give a new, more practical meaning to the term “horsemanship”?
Won’t we train more true horsemen if we set our sights on teaching people how to gain the confidence of horses which are spirited and exciting, tensed up, what is termed “hot”, and learn how to calm them down and discipline them? Isn’t teaching novices techniques, gentle natural horsemanship techniques to train spirited horses of the more competitive breeds, such as Thoroughbreds, some Arabians, American Saddlebreds, Hackneys etc., going to result in more horsemen in the real sense of the word?
I see beautiful, very feminine and refined, sophisticated girls and dead normal boys handling spirited and exciting horses, getting a super thrill out of their exciting mounts, just because of a different mindset. They are being taught that they can do it, and are being taught how to do it. It amazes me that children are being exposed to tough sports such as rugby, with all its risk of injury, but when it comes to horses anything that is not absolutely bomb-proof is considered dangerous.
What can we teach novices and children? What should we look for in an efficient horsemanship training book, and horsemanship book in general?
There are techniques which are gentle, kind, safe and non-abusive to gain the confidence and trust of green, wild horses which have never been handled before in approximately 30 minutes, and to become your horse’s ally for life.
Most horses are sensitive to touch in the beginning. There are gentle techniques to overcome this and make a horse safe and a pleasure to work with in a record time. Many horses are head shy by nature, but this can be corrected in a non-abusive way, making the horse easy to bridle.
A fair percentage of horses are hard to shoe, but a horseman can correct this problem in a very gentle way. There are techniques which are very effective to teach a horse to stand still when being mounted. These can be taught to pupils.