Thursday, March 11, 2010
Reflections on Riding and Jumping....
Thank you for this informative book Mr. William Steinkraus. I hope to shake your hand one day.....
Two Dozen Useful Aphorisms by William Steinkraus
1. Get your tack and equipment just right, and then forget about it and concentrate on your horse.
2. The horse is bigger than you are, and it should carry you. The quieter you sit, the easier this will be for your horse.
3. The horse's engine is in the rear. Thus you must ride your horse from behind, and not focus on the forehand simply because you can see it.
4. It takes two to pull. Don't pull--push.
5. For your horse to be keen but submissive, it must be calm, straight and forward.
6. When the horse isn't straight, the hollow side is the difficult side.
7. The inside rein controls the bending, the outside rein regulates the speed.
8. Never rest your hands on the horse's mouth. You make a contact with it: you carry your head and I'll carry my hands.
9. If the horse can't learn to accept what you're doing, it isn't any good.
10. Once you've used an aid, put it back.
11. You can exaggerate every virtue into a defect.
12. Always carry a stick (crop); then you will seldom need it.
13. If you've given something a fair trial, and it still doesn't work, try something else--even the opposite.
14. Know when to start and when to stop. Know when to resist and when to reward.
15. If you're going to have a fight, YOU pick the time and the place.
16. What you can't accomplish in an hour should usually be put off until tomorrow.
17. You can think your way out of many problems faster than you can ride your way out of them.
18. When the horse jumps, you go with it, not the other way around.
19. Don't let over-jumping or dull routine erode the horse's desire to jump cleanly. It's hard to jump clear rounds if the horse isn't trying.
20. Never give up until the rail hits the ground.
21. Young horses are like children--give them a lot of love, but don't let them get away with anything.
22. In practice, do things as perfectly as you can: in competition, do what you have to do.
23. NEVER fight the oats.
24. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
And now to his Epilogue which I simply loved.
"A few final words. Taking things for granted is all too easy. But we must never forget, every time we sit on a horse, what an extraordinary privilege it is: to be able to unite one's body with that of another sentient being, one that is stronger, faster and more agile by far than we are, and at the same time, brave, generous and uncommonly forgiving. (How much poorer our lives would be if all our riding experiences were restricted to mechanized transport!)
Only as riders can we achieve some measure of eternal youth, since we can exchange, old, tired bodies for younger, more vigourous ones as easily as changing horses. Luckily, however, there is no surer antidote for the arrogance this circumstance might engender than the horse itself, for no poorer respecter of personages has ever existed. The horse doesn't know or care if you are a prince or a pauper, only whether you can ride with skill and justness. No throne can compare with the back of a horse, and there is no way man can come closer to nature than by becoming one with a horse. Truly, as the French like to say, "L'homme se complete par le cheval," "Man completes himself through the horse." Nobody has every understood or articulated this better than Shakespeare:
When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk;
He trots the air, the earth sings when he touches it.....
----Henry V, Act II
I can't put it any better than that folks, so I end here for now......