Words are powerful! Sometimes you stumble across something that you really connect with or has an impact on what you do from that moment forward. When I am working with a trainer or attending a clinic, I try to remember important words of wisdom or significant phrases that make a lot of sense for my horse and I, or made a strong impression on me. Below I’ve included some that really stand out for me. Maybe you’ve heard these before or maybe it’s the first time. Take a moment and read them, and think if the words have meaning for you and what you’d like to achieve with your horse.
“Recognize the smallest change, the slightest try”, Ray Hunt. This is one that I’ve heard thousand of times, and it absolutely is powerful. Whenever your horse gives you something, even a little something, that is going in the right direction, reward it!
“When riding, ask yourself, What will my horse get out of this if I get what I want? Many times, human nature is to take and to not give anything back.“ Buck Brannaman. This quote is speaking to your character, your leadership, and your partnership with your horse. Always put the horse first.
“Natural horsemanship is an attitude not a technique”, Linda Parelli. Love this quote from Linda Parelli. Every time I meet horse people who follow some sort of Natural Horsemanship teachings, they really stand out in a crowd. They are calm, their horses are confident and relaxed. You can feel and see the harmony that exists between horse and rider.
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got”, Pat Parelli. This quote resonates with me, because I strongly believe in improving my skills as a rider and horse owner. Nobody knows it all! I love to attend clinics, because every time I go, my horse and I learn something new that improves some aspect of my attitude, knowledge, and relationship with my horse. I seek professional trainers who believe its important to continue to take lessons from more advanced trainers or at least network together to gain more knowledge in their respective fields. Learning about horses in general or with regards to a specific discipline is a life long journey. There is always room to improve at every level.
“Precision arrives out of the possibilities that play creates”, Karen Rohlf. This quote is amazing to me. Too often trainers and riders drill, drill, and drill some more. They drill their horses or they drill their students to the point where creativity is out the window. Precision riding is a high level of equitation, and I love to aspire to that level, but listen to what the quote says, PLAY creates it! Having undemanding time with your horse, playing on the ground on line or at liberty, trail riding, trick training, or just riding your horse across a wide open gorgeous field is fun and playful. Think about when you were in school, did you have a teacher who made learning so fun, you didn’t know you were even learning something difficult. Be that way with your horse!
“Horsemanship is a matter of trust”, Walter Zettl. I like this quote, because there can be nothing without trust when it comes to horses .
“Look at Frustration as a positive thing, it is the frustration that drives you to improve”, John Lyons. This quote also reminds me of when Linda Parelli comes across an issue with a horse and says “isn’t this interesting?” I’ve found that this really helps me . I even say it out loud to my horse. I might say, “Ok, this is something we need to work on, that’s ok.” This quote by Stacey Westfall is communicating the same idea, “Remain calm and see the problem as an opportunity.”
“Never underestimate the potential for things to improve in ways you cannot yet imagine” Karen Rohlf. This last quote, I find to be so inspiring and gives you hope for things to change in wonderful ways.
I hope you enjoyed these, and I hope some or all of them inspire, comfort, and motivate you in your journey with horses.
Gail Ford is owner of Mulberry River Farm. She is a local amateur rider and competitor who studies natural horsemanship and the fundamentals of dressage.