A Smart Choice

(“Be my guest . . .”)

“Pick a horse that’s willing to cave.” That doesn’t sound very nice – like you want to subjugate your horse or humiliate him. But it doesn’t really mean that at all. Face it, some horses are assertive and strong-willed. Others are mild by nature and generous. Some “discussion” with your horse is to be expected. Some negotiation? That too. But here’s the news: If you think just by being loving you’re going to win over the kind of horse who is always pushing the limits and testing you, please be my guest. I think you are setting yourself up for a lot of frustration and, depending on your riding skills, the possibility of personal harm!

A hot horse or one with a dominant personality is not necessarily a bad thing; however, it requires a certain kind of rider. If you have the balance, the strength, the reflexes and most especially the insight required, you can really get somewhere. Unfortunately, I see too many riders who are over-faced by the horse they have chosen, and worst of all, usually that horse knows it! If you are hesitant, timid, or passive, that kind of horse will fill in the gaps often with unpleasant results. Do yourself a favor — it is said that dressage is a journey. Embark on it with a suitable companion who is willing to try to cooperate as long as your demands are reasonable.