To me it is remarkable how much riding has changed. When I was in my teen--early 60!--a horse was old if he was sixteen and huge if he was sixteen hands. Now veterinary care and breeding has changed much of that. And how I agree about Pony Club: It was rigid and incredibly strict--not bad but sometimes too harsh for both horse and rider. But, of course, in these days of "Princesses" the pendulum has swung too much the other way. There are was too many riders and too few horsemen and horsewomen.
And yes, it is an irony that the gentlest must empathetic style of horse training is advocated by that group of riders that were the harshest and often the cruelist--the American cowboy. With Natural Horsemanship things have really turned around. I count myself as principally a dressage rider but I start all our green horses using Natural Horsemanship. And we do a lot of the ground exercises while they are growing up--right from the time they are imprinted at birth.
Classical dressage--not Rollkur or anything related to it--when correctly done, absolutely keeps the horse's mental and physical well-being in mind. But like many htings, there is also so much bad. Horses are kicked forward, there heads held down by uncompromising hands.
I hope it's okay if I mention here that Amazon/Kindle has just released my novel, "Trophies, An Equestrian Romance." In addition to what I hope is a good story, you will find some of this training talked about amongst the characters. Here's my blog which tells you about it as well as what's going on at Windflower Farm: http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=115697339862795010#editor/t... Please tell me what you think here or on the "Trophies, An Equestrian Romance." PS: I'm sixty-three but I still feel myself to be a young rider.
Yes, I remember Pony Club here in the US--very strict, sometimes too strict. But now the pendulum has swung too much the other way with an excess of entitled "princesses." These days there are plenty of riders but fewer and fewer horsemen and horsewomen. And, it seems, when the competition is keen, abuses creep in, "soring" of hooves and miserable weights
to show more action, and in dressage and show jumping, that miserable horse spirit and body crusher "Rollkur." It is wonderful that cowboys, principally in the US and Australia have done much to change the harsh world of "horse breaking" with Natural Horsemanship. It is so much more empathetic. Here we start it right after imprinting with ground exercises.
I hope it's okay to mention here that Amazon/Kindle has just released my novel on show jumping, which in addition to what I hope is a good story, the characters discuss these matters. Let me know if you like it. You can contact me on "Trophies, An Equestrian Romance" Facebook page anytime. I'd love to here your thoughts. Ainslie (PS: I'm 63 but still feel myself a young rider.