I was asked to show one of my horses the other day and a middle aged woman arrived at my place properly dressed,physically fit and by all outward appearances in condition to ride a horse.
She said that she had an extensive background in not only Dressage but also Western riding.
She stated that she had been actively riding for the last 30 years and was looking for a "trail horse."
I had one of my students(a 13yo young lady) go and get a 4yo gelding that is about the best trail horse on the place.
We groomed and saddled the horse as we told the prospective buyer about his history, pedigree,and past training.
The gelding was brought to the round pen and I demonstrated his willingness to stand when being mounted and also some of his ground work.
The woman asked to work him and so I left the pen and handed her the lunge whip.
The gelding that was just loping around the arena and following my every request would not move for her.
Wanting the showing to continue to the riding stage and be successful I gave a few pointers for the woman to get the horse moving with some small results.
I enter the pen and mount the gelding with no bridle,kicked my feet out of the stirrups and ask the 13yo to lunge me and the horse complied with a soft and unhurried lope.
I dismounted the horse and put a real nice D ring snaffle on the horse and handed the reins to the woman and asked her if she would like to ride him.
She accepted and mounted up.
The horse just stood there as she rocked and kicked and wiggled in her seat with total frustration trying to get the horse to take a step.
I said "Ma'am,I am not going to tell you how to ride a horse but I might suggest how you ride this one"
She was in a kind of Hunt seat position and was leaning way forward and her legs were back by the horses flank a kicking and wigglin and twirllin like two helicopter blades.
Wanting to keep things positive I suggested that we get the horse out of the round pen and out on the trail where he was the happiest and she agreed.
Well at this point I am on another gelding and I am just hoping that the younger one that she is on might just latch onto the one that I am riding and I can get that poor fellow moving.
No such luck at all and that pony knew when a knucklehead was on he's back and he just planted his feet and waited for the cues that he had always gotten in the past.
So he stood there as I tried to explain that the cues to ride him were much more subtle then she was using and she kind of got him moving some.
This only lasted for about 5 more minutes and the gal just baled off stating that she needed a much better trained horse and that she already had owned three horses just like this and wanted a better mount for herself.
I called to my young student to mount up and finish the ride.
We were both loping up the back hills and having a blast as the woman burned out of the driveway with a disgusted look on her face as my wife reported.
You have got to come to the horse before you can bring him to you!
Who said that and how does this relate to training?
"The greatest strength is gentleness."
- Iroquois Proverb