Some food for thought, and maybe somewhat controversial-

Traditions in horsemanship have been around for centuries. Some better than others, but most have been around for so long because they generally work. For instance, the classical dressage training scale, when adhered to, mostly produces excellent results. But, in my opinion, the order depends on the horse – sometimes I address rhythm first, sometimes relaxation first. In my mind, there are great principles to adhere to, but flexibility when applying them to different horses is key.

Similarly, the traditional vaquero training methods tend to have some really dogmatic followers. Folks who say things like, “if so and so does it, then that’s just how it is.” The truth is that every horse is different, and imagine if science and medicine took this approach? As time marches on, we learn more about horses, we evolve, and understand them better. I think it’s great to adhere to classical principles, but not so great to fix yourself dogmatically to a system of any kind.

This is why I choose not to follow or endorse any program, and there are billions out there. In general, there’s lots to be learned and lots of good that can come from them. But sooner or later, over a wide enough range of experiences and horses, they will miss the mark. It’s inevitable. So it’s important to be able to think outside the box.

As Ray Hunt was known to say, “observe, remember, compare.” The horse is the true teacher.

2 thoughts on “Think!

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