Let’s move on to some specific equitation questions.
Why is good equitation and riding well so important?
Well in my business with doing trail rides and and pony parties or anything like that, job one, is it keeps you from falling off! That is important.
That for me, is the most important thing. I find that often I’m taking out people out in the woods, we may encounter obstacles, we may encounter animals.
Do you encounter one of those large ‘gators you see on Facebook?
Actually that’s really funny. I was taking a training horse out and I had people riding behind me and it was raining at Atlantic Ridge and the water was on all of the trails was really deep.
We were sloshing through a trail that was about two feet deep, and all of a sudden, I just, out of the corner of my eye looked down and I saw this huge out swelling coming out from underneath my horse. And I watched the water continue to swell up and then jumps out on the bank and it was a two foot gator.
The horse I was riding didn’t even budge. He just kept on acting like, I didn’t see a thing, I don’t know what you’re talking about. And I was like, oh my gosh, that was a ‘gator and it came right out from underneath my horse.
Those types of this is why I say equitation is really important because know, keeping your weight down in your heels, trying to predict what your horse is going to do, keeping your upper body back. People teach equitation in a ring and people teach English equitation are like bring that upper body forward, got that lovely two – point position, that’s all fine and wonderful.
I had a clinic with Aidan O’Connell about five or six years ago and Aiden O’Connell just put a video up on the mail about riding out of the arena, riding outside fencing. That is when equitation becomes more important than anything, because if you’re not balanced and you’re not paying attention to what’s going on, you’re going to be off in a flash.
That is so huge. You know, people spend their lives inside the confines of the rings. I agree with you totally.
So what is the biggest challenge you see people are struggling with with their equitation. You get so many different types of people. People who have ridden a lot. People who have never ever ridden.
I have people that range from, I’ve never been on a horse before to grand prix riders ride my horses. I’ve got a friend of mine that is a retired steer wrestler. He rides. I go from people who don’t know how to ride hardly at all to people that ride way better than I’ll ever ride.
With beginners, here’s what I see, is that it’s easy to “over horse” yourself. People will sell you a horse that is more horse than you need to be on.
That’s what you mean by “over horse-ing”.They should be on fifteen two quiet quarter horse when they’re on or someone’s selling them a 17.2hh off the track thoroughbred that raced 2 weeks ago.
And they do it with their children. They do it as adults. They do it unknowingly. Oh, I want my child to grow up with the same companion. They will go and buy a young horse that the child has no business being on. Or for themselves. They’ll go out and find a disreputable person that may drug the horse. Or may misrepresent the horse, or maybe look at the horse and say, “oh it’s pretty, I want it”, and not even think about what they are going to ride the horse, to have anything to do with it.
There so many ways and mistakes can be made because people don’t know. They don’t know what you’re doing. And people selling horses, that it’s not their business. They just want the horse gone. They don’t pay attention to where the horse is going to go. And you’ll get people to come out and they’ll look at a horse for sale, they’ll be like, just get on it and go. Or friends have horses and their non- instructors themselves, but their horses are fine for them to ride and they will say, “come on over and jump on my horse, let’s go for a ride.
They can’t look at a person ‘s body and say this horse might be too much for them. they don’t know how to real what’s going on with a rider. The next thing you know, somebody’s fallen off, they’re getting hurt.
So they are not knowledgeable.
Not knowledgeable. There are too many horses in this world that are are not well trained. There are too many people who don’t want to spend money to pay for quality training and it is an accident waiting to happen.
So what tips can you give people now to help them, to help people who are listening here today?
Know what’s going on your horse ‘s head, and develop a strategy to avoid a fall. And I say avoiding them because they’ll happen no matter what happens you get on a horse plan on falling off. It’s just going to happen.
They don’t like to hear that.
But that’s what happens. And I I say that because I had one of my students, and it probably took her three or four years before she finally fell off, but it did happen.
You learn to ride better and then you take more risks. If you never take risks, you won’t have an issue. Very rarely will you have anything go wrong. I try extra, extra careful with my beginner riders. We always ride the level of the least rider. Any time I book a trail ride, and I’m like okay what’s your riding skills. And what’s your of friends riding skills? And they’re like, well you know I’ve ridden, and I’m really good experience and I own my own horse. And my friend is a beginner.Well you need to understand we will ride to the level of your friend who is a beginner. We are going to keep them safe.
You have to read the horse’s body language. You learn how to read horses body language. You have to feel what they’re feeling and have a plan if they spook.
It’s got to happen or you are going over face yourself. These are all things that most often happen, if you love horses and oh, I’m going to ride every week. Oh, I think this is a fabulous experience. I want to get into owning my own horse. Because a lot of people when they start riding some people never get past the “oh I ride occasionally”. Most of the time they are pretty safe.
It is when you decide that you’re passionate about this and you want to learn all you can learn in the limited time you have on the planet. That’s sometimes when accidents can happen.
I think that’s really good advice.
Are there any other things you would like to add to that?
Riding with a helmet. Riding with an air vest or a safety vest. When I fox hunt, because I am one of those who is going to push my envelope. I hunt with an air vest. I am attached by a lanyard to my saddle and when I separated from my horse my air vest immediately goes off.
When you were growing up, putting those baler twine, hay bine, hay twine bridles on those three year olds, did you have a vest and a helmet?
I can picture it, you had a pair of cut off jean shorts and probably a halter top or bathing suit and maybe boots on. Maybe bare feet!
Probably bare foot or in tennis shoes, because you know I didn’t have to worry about falling out of the stirrup because, there was none!
They weren’t going to let us use any of their good equipment.
One challenge that I see people that are struggling with their equitation is that they just don’t ride enough. And I will say the foxhunting and trail riding. those are all ways to get out in the saddle and spend hours and that’s what really makes a difference in your equitation.
Spending time in the tack!
I think that’s really good advice. I think we are going to wrap it up there Joyce.
I’d like to thank you Joyce Chartier for coming on our podcast today.
If you would like to visit Joyce, you can go to ChoyceLLC.com and ChoycePartyPonies.com.
Thank you for visiting us today.