There is a usual trajectory of growth in the horse world....a path that goes something like this for someone getting into horses for the first time, who's drawn in...
The horse world has a standard way for getting involved. It' s usually through horseback riding lessons. You sign up with a farm for an hour lesson and show up to "ride". This is just the usual way it's done, but "riding lessons" are still learning lessons! Riding is just one piece of the horse puzzle. It's a fun piece, the one that is the easiest sell and draw, but it may not be the best and most effective approach to getting folks started out with horses.
As kids, we went to school to learn. We learned, we practiced, we applied what was taught. In horses, we often start in the application phase...the act of physically riding a horse before learning the full curriculum. In math class, did you learn fractions before addition or subtraction? So why in horseback lessons do we jump right into riding a horse before we learn more about the actual horse? Why don't we take time learning more about the type of riding there is, what the differences are?
What about the history of the horse? How has the horse human relationship over the years evolved and what are the different ways that horses are connected to humans in our present day? What are the different disciplines? How are they different? Why know about them? How do horses impact the environment and how does the biodiversity of the environment in which they live and we live impact us?
Because for lots of folks, this is boring....we want to jump right in and have fun and go fast and start doing what we see other horse people doing. We want to be like that person or this person, it looks cool, never mind we have no clue what is actually going on. Let's just jump in and hang on for the ride!
Literally, I've seen it....you've likely seen it....riding lessons with folks no joke, hanging on for the ride...like for dear life. Doing way more than they should be safely for the lack of having any clue what they are doing, or how they should be doing it- safely. I've been at horse shows with teensy-weensy kids slouched forward gripping mane like a life-line, going around the arena on saintly horses but feeling compelled to say "whoa" to the ponies on autopilot passing by because their jockeys were just a slight movement off from face-planting in the dirt!
I'm too much of a control freak for such lack of discipline. I realize the impressionability a fall or scary out of control moment on a large unicorn can have on a small kid or adult not having the hand-eye coordination, balance, mental awareness, or skills taught to handle a 1000lb creature when turned loose in an arena and left to their horses devices. A scary and often avoidable experience at this impressionable time, turns many away from horses for good. And that is a shame!
We feel a strong responsibility to set those we teach up for success. What we teach at the foundation, sets the stage for each student's future. We take great pride in knowing this. It's important for our students. It's important for our horses. It's important for our program and it's reputation. It's important for our future program. It's important for our local horse industry....it is important. We believe in taking time to build a strong foundation.
Our program is based on education. On knowledge. On understanding what to do and why to do it. We question. We answer. We don't just do for the sake of doing, because that is what everyone else does. We aren't here to educate followers. We are here to educate leaders in horsemanship. Showing is NOT the only path to success when it comes to horses! It is a piece of a business model based on competition that many gravitate towards out of ego.
Our ideal student comes to us out of a different motivation. A desire to know more. A desire to learn about unicorns and how to connect with them. How to behave around them and discover how through aligning with a horse, how we can align and connect to ourselves and feel more empowered. More understanding. More control. More awareness. More joy. More fun!
If you want to know more about our unique and different approaches to starting out with horses or how to enhance and improve your existing knowledge. Get in touch! We will be offering many blended learning courses (combined in barn and online/virtual) clinics and sessions in 2022 that focus on building blocks with horses that when taught earlier than later, lead to greater success with horses than many traditional "riding, competition, and horse show focused" models focused on building a business instead of building a solid, well-rounded horseman/woman who can exist independently of "the business" because of their own education, knowledge, and skills learned.
Stay tuned too for upcoming Personal, Career, and Corporate Leadership Consulting offerings that we have partnered together with Memphis Training Consultants to roll out and offer in 2022! These unique life skill trainings straight from the horses mouth, and my interpretations from a few years experience will be unlike any riding lesson or coaching program you've experienced before.... click here to stay tuned for more to come in 2022!