Simply defined, horsemanship is the art or practice of riding on horseback, but that’s just skimming the surface.
“Horsemanship isn’t really about just going to shows, and showing them off and getting those blue ribbons, it’s knowing –again, it’s that relationship between you and your horse specifically,” says Alicia Pedie, Horseowner.
Pedie says she’s been around horses all her life, but she’s hungry to learn everything she can.
“I know about theory, but the practice is what I wanted to do. So this is kind of what brought me, I knew I could get out here with my horse and practice what I knew in my head,” says Pedie.
Because horses are generally prey animals, it’s harder for humans to get along with them than it is to get along with, say, a dog, who is a predator, like us.
“You can easily train a dog, ‘Here, puppy, puppy, puppy’ and give him a cookie, and he’s happy to come to you. You can hold — if your horse is scared, realistically, there’s no way he’s coming to you for a cookie. It’s not happening,” says Jenny Trainor, Parelli Three-Star Instructor.
Trainor explains that the horses have a hierarchy of needs, and before you can do anything, your horse has to feel safe.
When you’re trying to communicate with a horse, it all comes down to body language. So changing your posture from this (slouching), TO THIS (standing straight), can make all the difference.
“So my energy is down, versus, can I bring my energy up? And then my horse goes,” she gasps, “‘My human might want something!’ And then I can can direct them as to what it is that I want,” says Trainor.
Learning to adapt to each horse’s personality to communicate better is essential, and not just in training horses.
“A journey of us learning about ourselves and our self improvement and how do we –how do we get better? And how do we be who we need to be for that horse? Well, what ends up turning out is that we’re better for everyone in our lives too,” says Trainor.
Horsemanship: relating and communicating with your horse.
Trainor will be back at Dakota Rocky Mountain Horses for another Natural Horsemanship clinic at the end of September.