The Art of Horsemanship.
No matter what task we set them, it is of paramount importance that our horses are able to work for us (at any level), whilst maintaining their natural disposition. This is the fundamental principle I believe should be at the heart of all our interactions with horses. A well trained horse should respond to a riders communication rather than be forced into compliance by restriction and control. The way we achieve this is by first establishing the rules by which we interact with our horses (rules for both us to follow, as well as our horses). By giving ourselves rules to work with, and following these rules we can begin establishing a means of communicating with our horses that is based on mutual understanding rather restriction and control. When we can communicate with our horses without introducing restriction or control over their movements we can begin to teach them to maintain their natural demeanour throughout work (as well as all other times).
I define the art of horsemanship in 3 ways
It is not simply riding - it is a holistic approach to understanding and working with horses that takes into consideration all aspects of their being.
It is a language - rather than taking a restrictive direct control of our horses, via pressure and release we endeavour to slowly teach them there is meaning behind every interaction.
The horse must maintain it's natural disposition - If we make sure our horses are both mentally and physically comfortable in their work - this produces both a superior athlete, as well as a far more rewarding relationship.