In today’s world the riding criteria are adjusting to the general public for popularity reasons in order to turn the riding desire of people into profits for various equine organizations. Unfortunately the true riding talents are thus leaving this earth forever.

Often the horse's attitude reflects 
the rider's heart.
"Ready to go!"

     For example, the dressage of today is not about dressage, but is about the various dressage associations that create all sorts of rules and regulations to preserve their own existence and protect their own interests. The object is to attract as many people as possible, thus establishing a solid and competitive place in the horse world today. Just like the power of religion is founded in the numbers of believers, so it is with any association or organization by the number of their members.
    Therefore, these associations like dressage make rules to accommodate the public in order to increase the number of members, while the horses themselves are rarely thought of, because it is not about them but it is about business and profits.

When describing riding it would best to start from the top level down rather than, as most books do, from the basics up. The reason is simple, as one needs to know in what direction he is going, what he wants to accomplish, what level he wants to reach and what it will take to get there.
    Understanding this will then determine the basics in which the particular rider should start. It is a mistake to believe that the riding basics are the same for all desired levels of riding. We must understand that decent riding requires a talent, physical ability and immense experience with many horses.
    We must evaluate all that and by doing so we can establish the proper process for educating every individual rider. Providing that a person has the talent and physical ability to become a decent rider, without the sufficient experience and time spend on many horses he will never get it. Also if some one is willing to spend the time, but lacks the talent and/or the physical ability to become a rider, it will again never happen. It is of great importance to know one’s limitations and adjust their riding style (ambitions) to them.
    All people can ride a horse, but only very few will understand it, end even less learn it.
     In the higher and more refined level the riding is best to be compared to some sort of dance of hearts. This may sound somewhat poetic since it is from the emotional perspective appealing and sentimental, but in fact it has nothing to do with our emotions, but with the heart, or better said with one’s attitude. Many folks often refer to riding as to a dance, but mostly because they heard it or read about it somewhere, but they have no idea what they are talking about. It is not only about the responsiveness to one another but it is mainly about the inner nature of an individual horse and the rider.

This picture shows an obvious contrast of attitudes, even to the eyes of laics.

A picture worth a thousand words.

Big hearted and good horses will do well despite their burden or... a "rider". 
This face says it all.

     The true riding art (dance) rests in the ability to relate to one another (rider with the horse) and not only physically but mainly with the heart, which reflects in the attitude. Here is where most people run into problems, because their attitude does not match the attitude of the horse, hence they cannot relate and without it there is no true riding, less even some dance (a simple example: a person wants his horse to jump, yet he himself is not willing to take the same chances as the horse. Such riders usually speak of “having the horse in the front of the leg” or in “front of the rider”, very much popular and at the same time misleading theory/teaching.).

     I doubt that any one would be able to relate/rely on a person who would send him into “spooky and dark woods” in a front of himself. A decent rider is like a king that goes to a battle in front of his soldiers. Such soldiers will be more loyal and will fight for him more willingly and fiercely. The relation between the horse and the rider is very much similar, that is why for example the so called “war horses” were charging against a herd of other charging horses (people), while we today can barely "charge" anything on our horses.
    There was nothing special about the “war horse”, but what was special was the rider’s attitude to which the horse related in a high adrenaline charge to his own heart from the rider. Hence the use of more severe aids, like spurs and curb bits were in place, since under such condition of high adrenaline charge the ability to feel (pain) was greatly reduced. Under such conditions the rider would hardly respond to a normal voice and the horse would not notice any gentle leg aid and such.

    To be able to relate to a horse one needs to be first and foremost a horseman, hence no person can become a decent rider, trainer or for the matter decent anything in the equine profession without it. The virtues that define a true horseman are founded in perceptiveness, in the ability to see the truth, not only in horses but also within himself and in all things around, and in the ability to adjust. This will define the genuine horseman’s heart to which the horse can relate, because horses cannot perceive or understand a lie or deception.
    We cannot relate to a horse through our emotions or through our brain. We have simply too much of it for the horse to even begin to comprehend, while on the other hand the horses have very little of both. However, that which is in our hearts most horses can see, because it reflects in our attitude which our consciousness cannot change since it is our true individual nature. Hence, horses for most part, especially stallions, do not relate to a weak heart (weak natured person). It does not necessarily mean that they will resent him or dislike him, but they will simply not relate to him.

     For most people the riding is more or less a collection of mechanics, theories and rules to be followed, and various cues, and the self-proclaimed “good” riders often make some sort of science of the advance riding, while in reality it is very simple to explain.

   For a musician a note represents sound, hence he can “hear” the music through his eyes (some famous composers never heard some of their music, they were deaf). It is similar with riding, which is not some sort of system of cues originating in the rider’s brain, but it comes from the rider’s heart and is harmoniously implemented and synchronized with the horse’s movement and his heart, therefore it will work on green horses if executed accordingly. A decent riding will show on green horses, as against most trained (adjusted) horses can in time adjust to any nincompoop or control freak and still perform well.

     Riding is not about what other people think of you, let alone how you look, but it is about how the horse that you are riding perceives you. In the kind, understanding and brave heart of a horseman most horses (animals) will find a partner (buddy). It is a genuine insult to any decent horseman to be seen as some "horse lover", let alone an "animal lover". Of course if you do not get this you could not possibly get anything written on this site, obviously.

     When I speak of a horseman I am referring to a particular kind of man and not to a woman, because most women relate to horses through their thoughts and emotions, as opposed to a horseman that relates to the horse through his heart that reflects his true nature, which the horse then see and can (may or may not) relate to. Suffices to say that women simply have no clue what I am talking about, though some men should.
    This Earth is about the hearts, specifically about the hearts of men.


The genuine and ultimate riding experience is truly and solely about a partnership
founded in the truth of both hearts that can relate to one another.

Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek