3 October 2010
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” -Winston Churchill. Horses not only inspire their riders, but also the spectators. The art of equestrian is generally disregarded as a competitive sport. Being a rider not only takes raw talent but also devotion, skill, concentration, knowledge, and strength. With a variety of riding styles, it’s difficult to express which one is superior to the others. There is tension between the horsemen with different riding styles; each believe their accomplishments take more skill. Western Pleasure riding and English Hunter Jumpers are two distinctive techniques with diverse characteristics, but the riders themselves share a common attitude of love and passion for riding. Preparation showing takes much conditioning both physically and mentally for horse and rider. Training a horse can be a difficult task, considering horses are not machines. Horses are live animals that have a mind and personality of their own. Acclaimed Western Pleasure horse and riding trainer, Hardy Oelke, states “In your actual training, your goal is to teach your horse so he never wants to go fast, waits for your cues without ever getting in a hurry, but still stays collected.”(Training The Wester Pleasure Horse). He also explains the principle of manipulating the horse’s brain rather then his mouth (Training the Western Pleasure Horse). Hunter trainer, Rick Fancher, proposes tips for developing the horse’s movement. Training the horse according to Fancher is a gradual process based on working with the animal, “You cannot teach your horse to shorten and collect if you don’t first let him go forward. And you cannot keep him relaxed if you’re always hanging in his mouth.” (Hunter Training Do’s and Don’ts). Having the correct equipment also occupies a large part of preparing the horse. Quality bridles, bits, and saddles are all basic tack...