We’re Inviting You To Come Ride With Us

August 27, 2014

Oklahoma Trail HorseWe are inviting anyone who wants to ride with us September 20, 2014 to go. The ride is leaving the Will Rogers Centennial Trail Head at 9:00am at Oologah Lake. There are no fees or charges. It’s not an organized trail ride, just a chance to meet some people and have a great day on the trails. Who might enjoy the ride? Anyone interested in dressage, mounted patrol, mounted search and rescue, trail riding in Oklahoma, or just wanting a fun group ride.

We see the opportunity to blend and combine several riding disciplines in one get together so everyone can learn more about horses, riding, and community involvement. For example, a dressage rider can illustrate how precise movements enable trail riders to navigate obstacles on the trail. Mounted patrol members can show dressage riders how their skills might be put to use in real life rescue operations to help save a life or rescue someone in danger. New riders would be able to observe  and talk with professional horsemen to gain new insights into all riding disciplines. There will likely be several riding instructors and trainers present. So pack a lunch and join us for a great day on the trail and meet some new friends.

Western Dressage Isn’t For Dummies

February 12, 2014

Western dressage is a complicated, mentally challenging discipline. It’s not for dummies! It has only been recently that I learned just how difficult it is to grasp. I was told you use two hands on the reins in western dressage or you lose points. To my backward way of ‘thinkin’, if you can do exactly the same thing with one hand on the reins, it means you’re even better. Like when I was small and the older kids rode their bicycles with one hand while I used two hands. Wrong! Not in western dressage, two hands are required.

Confused, I started sending e-mails and asking western dressage experts why two hands are better than one hand. The first answer I got was safety. It is for the safety and welfare of the rider and fellow participants. For a dumb red-neck from Oklahoma, this was a little hard to follow. If my horse does everything your horse does, where’s the safety? Is it because holding the reins with two hands will help keep me from falling off? Wouldn’t it be better just to grab hold of the saddle horn?????

The next reply was because that’s what the rules say. Slow on the uptake, I asked, who made the rule? This is not a proper question to ask. Once “He Who Shall Not Be Named” has SPOKEN, all will follow the rules. All violators will be PENALIZED!  I tried to point out that in battle, warriors probably carried weapons (swords and stuff), but was informed the correctness of the point would not be debated. The judges had been “trained” in the “old ways”.

At least, these individuals were courteous enough to respond. The silence of others seemed to say, “mere mortals” who would ask such questions could never be capable of understanding the depth and wisdom behind the “rule”.

The experts made it clear that “dressage” is a life-long journey that never ends. You never actually get there. You continue and never stop learning. Well, I may have just started the trip, but for the life of me can’t figure out how those guys swung a sword while holding a rein in each hand.  Hey, can any of you “western dressage experts” out there explain to a dumb country boy why two hands on the reins are better than one?

Communication Doesn’t Require Constant Contact On The Reins

January 18, 2014

There’s a fairly large group of riders who have been erroneously taught to keep continuous or constant contact between the reins and the bit. For some reason, they were taught to never let any slack develop in the reins. The misperception is that any lack of rein pressure in the horse’s mouth means no communication is taking place with the horse. In reality, the rider is developing a horse with a tough mouth that requires a considerable amount of attention to perform simple tasks. The rider can never leave a horse ridden in this manner to perform even the most simplistic task on command. Every minor action taken by the horse must be under the direction and guidance of the rider.

Although the belief spans all disciplines to some degree, interestingly dressage riders appear to be the most prone. We find this especially peculiar in a discipline that emphasises training of the horse to perform beautiful movements almost to the point of a dance. In our opinion, your horse should follow instructions without the need to micro-manage every little detail. As you know, we often use analogies with people to illustrate our thoughts. Let’s say you ask your 10-year-old to please bring you a glass of milk. Do you manage every minor segment of the activities to complete the task. Do you orchestrate each step to the refrigerator, opening of the door, getting a glass from the cabinet, and replacing the milk jug back in the refrigerator. We certainly hope not. It would take a lot of work and effort. In fact, we would suggest it might be easier to get your own milk.

A properly trained horse can perform without constant rein pressure and should.When asked to engage, the horse should do so and without being told where each foot needs to be.  If you want to work hard while you ride, it’s your choice. For us, we prefer to keep it easy and simple.