Last night I read this conversation on Horse & Hound Forum:
My reply was as follows:
“This is something very close to my heart as an instructor who is trying to fight with the “booting culture” …I really hope that you find another riding school where standards are higher and understanding of teaching in place.
I wouldn’t believe everyone who says months of lunge lessons are boring as they most likely did not experience a good, fun, creative and educational seat training programme. If they did, they may have another opinion of lunge lessons!
I very highly recommend them as seat education for beginner riders is the first step to get rid of switched off/resigned horses.
The time spent on the lunge depends on your general learning ambitions. As an example I keep my beginner riders on the lunge for minimum of 3 months. That’s for your average leisure rider.
If your body awareness and alignment are very good (as advised by your instructor) it might be that you need to focus more on how to use this good posture you have in a way that helps the horse rather than demands…
I must add – I think it would be great if you wrote to Horse & Hound magazine with your experiences. The booting culture must go if riding schools are to survive. More and more riders want to have good basics and ride well. Leisure riders shouldn’t have to loan or buy horses to experience high quality education, they deserve to learn at places where horses are not used as kicking boards.
Good luck with your search”
ARE YOU IN IT FOR FUN OR ABUSE
The subject of brutal and abusive riding, yes let’s call things by its name, comes up often and the fact several posters in the above conversation tried to find excuses for abusive teaching methods is a very sad state of affairs.
Before you read on, I should note that certain amount of assertiveness and confidence is required from riders at all levels. Some amount of firmness and decisiveness is always necessary with some horses and less with others. There is a big difference between assertive riding and abusive riding and that difference is called EDUCATION. Both you and the horse must know why and what for pressure is applied and how to work towards decreasing that pressure to achieve results invisibly.
If your instructor uses the words “kick on” meaning add energy to your actions and you know what you are supposed to do rather than actually boot the horse, then by all means, continue your lessons.
If, however, there are questions in your mind that are similar to those posted above, then do trust yourself because your intuition is right.
Dear adult rider at a riding school,
I think it’s fair to say you sign up for your lessons because there is something about the horse and riding that appeals to you. Something in the whole experience that gives you a great escape from everyday worries, work thoughts, daily duties, brings your heart rate up and let’s you chat with others who feel in a similar way.
I am sure that if “booting” and kicking hard was your idea of fun you would go for many other sports that readily have this on the menu like kickboxing, taekwondo, karate, football to name a few. If you really wanted to learn how to kick semi-soft objects with your calves and heels you could quite easily and cheaply gotten hold of an old sofa and have the time of your life booting it for a fraction of a price of a riding lesson.
You might say it’s a responsibility of a riding school to teach you well and you’ll be right. However, it’s your responsibility as of an intelligent human being to recognise when teaching stops and abuse starts.
What do you think dear readers? Boot or Educate? Do you believe riding tuition must move away from booting and whipping and find its way to humane horsemanship or do you think this abusive “stage” is just a part of being a novice rider who is not respected by the school horse? Or perhaps you don’t think it’s abuse at all? Please do have your say in the comments.
If you fancy a different way of learning to ride – check out Aspire Equestrian’s courses HERE.
- Rider’s Mind: Fear of Failure, Lack of Self-Confidence, Yearning For Perfection (aspireequestrian.wordpress.com)
- First Time Rider Tips (jillybean20011.wordpress.com)
- Quit and cross (kickingon.wordpress.com)
- Forwards!! (therubbercurrycomb.wordpress.com)
- Learn Horseback riding – Proper Tuition And Guidance Is vital (olshk.org)