"doesn't mean they'd win a western horsemanship class."
from what I have seen of western horsemanship shows Id take that as a compliment. People get so hung up on proper,, proper says who ? OMG my elbow is in the wrong place and my left pinky is sticking slightly southeast. The worlds gonna end !,, pulease, nothing wrong with some tips here and there, but take em and use em as they fit you and what you are doing, disregard the rest. Ive seen the way people talk about riding on this page, usually using the word trainer in every other sentence, like they couldnt possibly imagine riding without being supervised, most of whom have never done anything but ride in a circle in an arena, I am sure someone would call that proper. Seems they get so hung up on things that just dont matter.
If you watched that video you would be able to see how effectively that girl is riding. She gets an excellent, well tuned ride with virtually invisible cues, balance in her body, AND beautiful equitation position. There's a reason equitation exists. It shows the ideal position.
Of course, as you would have read in my first post if you read it all the way, effective isn't always pretty, and good position is relative to the activity. I sure as hell am not going to keep my proper position for my equitation class, whether it be western horsemanship or hunt seat, for something like a reining class or cow work that requires a little more aggressive riding, and surely not going to keep it for riding a barrel pattern.
I'm serious, I wanna talk about this.
Me before western horsemanship (Just warmup, but you get the idea)
In a reining class
Okay, okay, for giggles so you can all laugh at me, here's me showing dressage too.
And finally, running at a gymkhana.
Big difference in each one huh?
However, one thing is the same. I developed a good seat for riding colts from learning from the start how to have equitation. I took that and learned to adapt it to every situation. I learned how to make adjustments to each event from there, but I find that everything I knew came from my equitation position I already knew. You can really see this in my leg. It's in the same position in each shot. From which class I wonder? Western Horsemanship.
In an ideal world, everyone can ride with beautiful equitation on a well trained horse. However, it takes a LOT of work to get those equitation horses smooth and responsive to small cues, not making any big movements that might jar the rider, etc. Selena is NOT a good equitation horse because she is uncomfortable and is certainly not a slow western pleasure horse, however we have worked hard to get smooth transitions and invisible cue so I can fake it til I make it.
Also, it is virtually impossible to learn years and years of knowledge without a trainer. That's just the fact. Joe, you ride LD don't you? You probably don't need to be going to lessons twice a week for that. However, if you want to show in a reining pattern, run barrels, or jump over fences, you are going to need one to stay safe. End of story. Same with dressage. You simply will not figure out how to ride to the highest level you can without someone telling you to get your butt in the saddle and teaching you about how the horse's body moves, how each part of the body effects the rest, how you can achieve complete manipulation of the body through various cues and how to use all your aids at the same time to create a beautiful picture.
Conditioning for endurance or trail riding probably doesn't consist of counter arc circles, counter canter, flying lead changes, lots of collection and extension, piaffe, pirouette, spins, slide stops, tight turns with the horse PROPERLY (There's that word again) using their body. There's a lot more that goes into a western horsemanship jog than you realize, and a trainer is going to teach you all these things. They are more experienced than you.
If no one rode with a trainer, we'd probably never develop new methods, we'd probably still be getting on colts like the indians - stake 'em out and starve 'em for a few days and then bring em to the water and get on em in there so they're too tired and sick to buck. Or, alternatively, being the big bad cowboy who just got on a fresh colt and bucked it out, praying they didn't break their neck that day.
Quite a difference as to how we start colts now, huh? Wonder how we came up with that? It surely wasn't by no one helping others. Surely wasn't because no trainer ever helped any student.