Yesterday, while at my aunts for her birthday, her oldest step-daughter pulled me aside and asked if I might be willing to teach her about horses. Apparently she has made a little friend in her middle school classes who is horse-crazy, and now my 'cousin' (for lack of better word, because I do consider her my cousin) wants to know a bit more about horses and riding.
I told her to call me first, to make sure I'm home, and that yes, I'd love to teach her a few things. There's so much I can teach her and show her! She said she'd like to learn how to handle horses from the ground, how to ride, and anything I'd be willing to show her, because her friend knows all this stuff and she doesn't want to appear stupid and she really does like horses, just never gets a chance to really see any or work with any. (My cousin is 14, by the way).
Like I said, there's so much I can show her... but one question has been plaguing me... I know she's going to want to go right into riding, so how to I explain to her that before we ride, she's got to learn how to handle the horse from the ground? And exactly where/how would you start? I'm thinking about starting with catching them out in the pasture, how to halter and lead a horse, etc... and basic grooming...
I would probably point her in the direction of a knowledgeable instructor, better off to be taught by someone experienced.
That said, teaching a person to catch, halter, lead and groom is a good start.
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Explain to her just the way you asked the question of us.
Tell her it's a safety thing. You don't fly before you get a ground school education. Same with horses. You can't ride before you can catch 'em.
Have a great time!
You definitely have the right idea to start your "cousin" out with ground work. I teach lessons professionally and I always start here as well, no matter what the age of the student. You can tell her that if she ever wants to be good at horses and riding, or have her own horse someday, she will need to know how to handle and care for a horse. I also remind my students that handling horses on the ground will make them a better rider. I have also found it goes over well if I tell them that they need to get to know the horse so he is comfortable with them on his back. Good luck, I'm sure you will have a lot of fun sharing your horse knowledge!
I would tell her about groundwork and the importance of it.
- It helps your horse listen to you
- if the horse doesn't listen on ground, it most likely wont listen with you on him
- it helps teach the horse to respect you
- it gets the horses mind focused for anything you ask him to do
- it gets the horse focused on you and tak his mind off any distractions that might pull cause him to pull away from your listening on his back and on ground.
- the horse needs to trust you and respect you on ground before any riding
Just let her know how important everything you do around horses is and talk about body language and let her know that she needs to be boss around horses. I am trying to teach my friend all of this but she just doesn't get it. She doesn't try hard and she does everything she needs to do halfway.
You need to let her know how important it is that he body language is always right, she is always the boss, etc. It is very important.
My friend just could not take a grip on any of this and did it all halfway - which is why she didn't get far in working with horses. She copied everything I did on ground and in riding, but would not even do that right because she thinks that what I teach he is a bunch of bologna.
Anyways - just some tips to help her and you!!
that's the best advice you'll ever get. Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.
(forgive me for in effect calling you stupid. it's a fixed expression , so it's not meant as a personal insult)
We used to always be told this in Design School. it means the best solution is always the simple one. Don't overwhelm her with knowledge and don't expect a total newbie to be able to do all kinds of groundwork. And if your horse is safe enough to let her ride, I would totally add that in. If you don't have any fun riding, why would you want to do the "work" of ground work?
K.I.S.S.......good way to put it.
How to approach, halter, lead, brush, walk behind, tack, mount...the basics.
Nothing wrong with getting on for a nice walk but it is a good idea to also teach how to safely be around a horse, too. With the grandkids, it is if you want to ride, well, then you have some work to do.
No need to get thrown into a whiz-bang, full new-age program. All that other stuff can come later if the desire is there. Teach what you need to have it be fun and interesting and safe and see where it goes.
Sounds like it could be a rewarding adventure for both of you.
I'll be doing things with her with my mare, since she's not near as pushy as my gelding (whereas my gelding can get quite rude and has to be checked pretty regularly, my mare is usually good with people who don't really know what they are doing... her only 'bad habit' is that when leading, she wants to stop and graze...)... So yes, I can easily see letting her ride a bit, while still letting her know that other stuff is just as important.
I got the vibe that my cousin wants to learn all the technical terms for things and how to do things such as pick hooves out, saddle up, etc... so she can have something fun to chat with with her friend at school and so they will have something more in common, etc... but she does genuinely like horses as well, just rarely gets a chance to come work with them, etc...
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