Originally Posted by AustinAndPenny View Post
Just learning to ride westerns with no horse, no trainer, no one to help me but books and strangers off of the internet.
Is it possible?
I have the concept of riding down, how to stop them, how to turn them, to slow down/move up.
But what I'm really trying to ask is, is it possible to really know how to ride without actually riding?
You can understand and embrace the concept, but the execution is not possible without a horse.
Horses are thinking creatures. And this is why it's important if you really want to learn to ride - to actually ride. Because they think. And act. Sometimes they think but don't act or don't do what you think they will and do something entirely different. And worse, sometimes they act without thinking. Horses are very intuitive. And surprising and independent. They will amaze you. And they will confound you, too. Nothing like telling a horse, "Horse, I'd like to do "***"" and the horse telling you..."well, I'd like to do "***", and because they're bigger, they'll probably keeping doing "***" if you don't know how to tell them otherwise.
Because there's the act of riding: if you're lucky, you and your horse will eventually know each other and come together - two thinking feeling individuals that become a partnership, even if it's only for a minute or two. THAT MOMENT is FANTASTIC!! When you press and ask and they give! Dear Lord how wonderful is that????!!
There's the balance end of it. There's what you think you know and then what you will instinctively do when you are pressed or frightened or excited, like lets say pulling back on the reins and that's what you've seen and been taught by a million movies, yelling out "WHOA WHOA" while yanking back on the reins!
There are a million reasons why you must ride a horse to learn to ride a horse, but primarily two - there's you. And the horse. You may know some things but the horse, the enormous presence of the horse, that physical reality of sitting on one's back and feeling their body shift beneath you will change how you feel about them. And what you know.
You must learn the horse to ride the horse. (It doesn't hurt to have the horse learn you, too even if it's just to know you know what you're telling them.)