Learning How To Ride Horses

"When I was 20 years old I've looked back at my life and thought, "Boy, was I stupid". Twenty years later I've looked back again and thought, "Boy, was I stupid". Twenty years later I've looked back at my life and thought, "That is who I am".

Question: Hi, my name is Hannah and I came across your articles on the internet. They're really interesting and I agree with them all.
I've been taught to ride in a few different schools around where I live for the last 7 years and I still don't actually know how to ride even though I do according to them. I didn't realize that when you're trying to collect a horse and you're getting his mouth under the bit like that he is actually off balanced and it can hurt him. But thinking about what you are saying and how a rider should ride compared to the way I ride and I've been taught it makes sense that I've been taught wrong.
Well I was just wondering can you actually tell people how to do ride the horse to accept the bit and his mouth to not be under the bit line. In all your articles your telling us what we should do but not how to do it and this is what I'm asking you to help me with, can you please explain to me how you ride a horse according to your articles and not like we are taught in the riding school today. I would love to learn so I can one day maybe teach others to ride like this.
Thanks for reading please reply as soon as you can.

Dear Hannah,
I hope you will not mind that I am publishing my reply to your question, because I believe that many folks could learn here something, and that not only from me, but also from you. I like your sincerity and humility that is more than obvious present in your question.

First I would like to start with the fact that your goal and motives will not lead you to learning how to ride and I will explain by presenting some parts of my education as a rider. It may be a little longer, but it should be worth reading, because it should deliver a better understanding in learning how to ride horses. I have mentioned that no one can teach anyone how to ride except the horses, which should also help you if you decide to be a teacher. The object of the teacher is not to teach riding, besides the basics, but rather to disclose to the new rider what is happening and what he or she is doing. In this the rider should learn from the horse how to ride the particular animal, as there is no specific uniform way of riding or training horses, because one must constantly adjust his responses not only to the horse, but also the environment and situations.

I can give you one advice when teaching riders and that is to make sure to ride the horse they are riding, because the horse will tell you more about the riding ability of the rider than your own sight, but I am not talking about some lesson horses of course, for most are nothing more but "equine vehicles". I've never had any goals, nor have I desired to learn how to ride, as all I wanted was to make my living in riding horses, and as long I have done what was expected from me that was enough. In short, I did not strive to be the best. I liked horses and still do, but I did not care much about their well-being when I was young, but rather I cared more about myself to keep my job, which inadvertently led me to learning, but more so in the latter part of my riding career, rather than earlier.

Here are some experiences from my life, that as said, should help you in understanding, as well as about learning how to ride horses.
As I have mentioned on my personal site, I have graduated the two-year vocational school for professional riders and breeders of horses. We had the theoretical classes as well as the practical. In the theoretical classes we were taught about how things work and never how we should get things done. During the riding practices we received no so-called riding lessons as the instructor hardly said anything to us outside things like keep your hands down and such. In the riding of horses the school taught us mainly how things work, which is what my website is presenting, and just like my website does not present how to get things done, neither did the school.

In this school I have learned only some of the basics, of which many I have failed to understand, even after two years of school. As you can see I knew fairly nothing after graduating the school, but I knew enough to get a job for which I was trained. After the school I was riding steeplechase horses in training for a few months, where I have learned some new things, but very little. After that I've spent several years working in the circus for various trainers as a "bereiter", a German word for a working rider. During the winter the five circuses wintered at one place, and so I had my hands full, as during this time many trainers were training young replacements for the too old horses, or were improving the trained ones. As much as I rode for different trainers, I also had to ride different types of horses for different kinds of work. I worked with the "high school" dressage Lipizzaners, similar to as they do in Vienna. I had to also ride and train new horses for the acrobats and jugglers as well as for the so-called "ballerinas" that work on top of the horse. Furthermore I had to ride and train the so-called "liberty horses", because they are taught first by being ridden and then going free without the rider. Besides horses I had to also ride other animals like zebras and elephants. And so I had plenty of riding, which is what I wanted.

Because of my concerns about keeping my job I often stayed and worked over time, in most cases with the dressage horses, sometimes into the night. I commuted then one hour to work and one hour home. My work started at 7 and ended at 5, but I stayed very often till 11 at night working with those dressage horses. I did not like the dressage that much, but I did not care what I was doing when riding, as long I was riding, and during this time I never had any desire to learn anything about riding horses, though I had to in order to get the job done. It would be also fair to mention that I've never had any dreams or plans except one. I've always wanted to ride rodeo, but only God knows why, which was the main reason why I came to the states. This of course in time proved itself a huge disappointment, meaning the riding in the rodeo, but that is another story.

I have left the country in 1969 for Germany where I have found work at the racetrack, very different job from the previous one. Never the less I have adapted quickly in order to keep my job and learned how to ride and work racing thoroughbreds. Here I have learned new things, and actually excel, and that's because unlike the exercise riders and jockey I was a rider, as oppose the jockeys and exercise riders are not true riders. Here in the presence of my coworkers, the jockeys and the exercise riders I have started to learn more, but also I have started to get worse, which I did not know at that time, especially when many thought of me as a decent rider, which did not left me throughout my riding carrier. In other words I was not told that I was a decent rider, because the professionals never say these things to one another, but rather I was respected as such. I was about 10 kg too heavy to become steeplechase rider, of which the champion trainer of 35 years kept reminding me by saying every time he weighed us: "Ludwig, I wish you would be 10 kg lighter". He always said it with a sad face and I fell disappointed, and that not because I could not ride steeplechase but because he was disappointed and I really liked and respected him, because he was one of the rare genuine horsemen I've met during my life and admired.

During the winter we had to ride the horses all together as if in a herd, about 15 of them at a time, and so we went about 3 miles lively canter while sitting in the saddle. I remember one day when a jockey next to me, about 35 years old with plenty of experience, kept staring at me with a smile. I thought I was doing something funny while on the horse and that he was making fun of me. I respected that man and so I asked him what I was doing wrong. He said nothing, kept looking at me while we were cantering and kept smiling. After a while I got a little annoyed and asked again. He looked at me and said: "I have never seen anything like this", to which I replied with concern: "What?" He said: "Your head does not move at all, it looks like it is floating in the air". Most riders when riding in the sitting gallop move somewhat up and down, which is fairly normal for most riders, but because, unlike him that was just a jockey, I was a rider and rode dressage I have inadvertently and out of necessity developed the deep seat during the time in the circus, as I had to ride most of those horses bareback with just a blanket on top and no stirrups, including the dressage horses.

I remember that when I was riding for the dressage trainer only bareback I felt what other people feel, especially after several hours, and so like anyone I was trying to find more comfortable and less painful place on the horse, which of course never worked. In addition to that whenever I have taken up some twisted or deformed position on the horse the trainer added some humiliating remark. And so I say till this day that humiliation is one of the best teaching tools, which is actually what the teachers often exploit during the mandatory state educations, but not for teaching but rather for indoctrination. And so it was not until that day, which was about 10 years after I went to the school, that I have realized that I sit on horse much differently than the riders around me. In other words, no one taught me that, but rather the time spent on horses did, hence horses taught me, or you could say the life with horses did, or as the faithful say, "God taught me", as God teaches the man through life, and so one has to live it in order to learn it, whatever it may be.

This is why I also say that no show riders will ever learn how to ride, because they are concern more with how they look on the horses rather than with the going of the horse, while all I cared about was to get the job done that was requested from me. In other words, all my life I cared about getting the job done, as opposed most riders of today care about learning how to ride in order to win something or becoming something like a "good" rider, which is more about self-glorification than anything else.

However I did learn many new things there from people while riding with other riders. The problem of pulling or running off when on the horse was and is fairly common with race horses, and we had no outriders with ponies as they have here in the USA, and so when the horse ran off with the rider the rider was on his own. We used to make jokes like when a rider went by on a runaway horse we would say things like: "Don't worry I'll bring you a lunch". I've learned here a fairly simple trick, and I call it a trick because it is one. I've learned how to have the horse "spit the bit", figuratively speaking of course, and once when accomplished the horse stops pulling and leaning on it. In other words, I would ride the same horse, that ran off with someone the previous day, completely on a lose rein. It is actually fairly easy, but to the lesser riders it looks as some achievement. However, one cannot achieve this unless he has solid and fully balanced light seat, and so as you can see without the proper seat on the horse, whether the light seat or the heavy seat, one simply cannot learn how to ride a horse. I've learned this while riding a "puller" next to the rider that knew how to do it, who also explained how it works while riding next to me. It took me only a few minutes to get it done, but it depends very much on the rider's hands and what he feels in those hands, and how he responds to the horse, as well as on the quality of his seat as mentioned above.

And so I cannot explain this in writing, not only because people would misunderstand and end up yanking on the horse's mouth as they do with all the "taking and giving" bullshit, but because it can be done only in the way that this rider did that with me, both riding next to one another. In other words, he did not tell me what to do, but as I was doing things with my hand he kept telling me that it was not it or that it was wrong, till I learned from the horse what to do. In other words, you cannot learn anything in riding horses unless you do it wrong first. This is why I keep saying that all riders get worse before they can get better, but the fools keep thinking that the more they ride the better they get, and that is why they will never learn. As against you on the other hand are much more fortunate realizing after 7 years that you are not a good rider, despite what others tell you. And the more you learn to feel the horse the more you will find out how little you know, and so the horse is the teacher and not human beings.

I would like to also add to the above paragraph that at that time when I learned how to ride the so-called "pullers" I did not know what I was doing, despite the fact that I managed that. It was only later in my life, when I finally realized that it had nothing to do with the "spitting of the bit" but rather with the balance and collection of the horse. In other words I was learning how to collect and balance the horse without even knowing it, or better said without pursuing it.

When I left Germany in 1971, I came to the states and worked about 3 years on a farm breaking yearlings for the track, while also riding some older horses before they left for the track. Sometimes I rode some 12 to 15 yearlings per day, each about half an hour and about 4 miles of walk, trot and gallop. This is like riding the pony express for some 40 to 60 miles per day, while changing every 4 miles not for a new horse, but for a green horse with all the ducking and stopping, and occasional bucking or spinning. That's a lot of riding, especially when doing this for three years. It was here where I was the most fit in my life, and also where I've learned a great deal. The riding on horses that do not know anything is the best learning experience, which will also show to one his riding ability. To get the horse to go where you want, and to do what you want, while the animal has no clue about any riding aids, will surely open the door to understanding about how the riding aids suppose to work, and how to have the horse response to them during the animal's first stage of development, especially when it comes to the seat. You cannot learn this at any place but on the young horses, and with a lot of experience. No person ever becomes a rider without this experience, hence we had to do this the second year in the school as well, just to get some idea what to expect as professional riders.

When I came to the states I was 25 years old, alone and did not know anyone here, nor did I have any money to get back to Germany. In short I was stuck here with no ticket back, and so the keeping of my job was literally vital to my existence, which most people will more likely not understand. Imagine finding yourself in a foreign country with no friend and relative, not speaking the language and no money to get back home. I assure you it was one of the most difficult times in my life.

It was actually this fear of loosing my job that led me to learn more and more, as the training of the youngsters on this farm was somewhat unorthodox to say the least. I've weighed then around 165 to 170 pounds, which is fairly heavy for the training of yearlings and two-year-olds. Now imagine that they had me working out these two year-olds early in the year, like in January and February, and they also match race them to see which one is better. The riders that were present at that time with me none were over 150 pounds. Now my main concern was to keep my job and not really the well being of the horses, and so I was very much afraid of having a horse break down and getting injured under me, as I saw it as a possibility in losing my job, which was unimaginable.

And so as I was riding I became more and more sensitive to the impact of the legs when riding the youngsters in faster gallops, and the more I felt the more I became responsive and the more I kept adjusting my riding to the animals, until I felt no impact of the front legs when riding. Believe it or not, it is here where I have finally understood what the riding balance and collection is, and not during the time I was riding dressage. And so it was about some ten years of riding before I even got the clue what collected and balanced horse is, but I still sucked as a rider. Imagine all these silly people riding horses at the most one or two per day for a few years, thinking they know what they are doing, especially when it comes to balance and collection. In short 99% of riders today are totally clueless. Fortunately for you, you are not, because you have been blessed with knowing what you do not know, which opens the door to constant learning from horses, and since there is no such thing as a good rider, it never ends, the learning that is.

It was also during and after this time that I also became the worst rider in my life, which of course will not make sense to anyone, except to a rider that went through the same. The riding epiphany, as I call it the divine revelation, came actually some 15 years later, and it literally took my breath away and with it also my interest in riding. And so, as much as I was set on riding horses for living, and as I pursued it all that part of my life, since I would not take any job if it did not include riding, all that I have ended up learning about riding was the reason why I should not ride them. It is not that I do not miss it, and were it not for certain circumstances in my life, I probably would have never stopped. My feelings about riding horses are still till this day fairly ambivalent, as I miss it and then again I don't.

My riding epiphany came about in this way, when I had a young two year old in training and the animal was very fast, and I mean very fast. One Day I put a jockey on that did not know the horse, and when giving him leg up to work the horse, I told him to make sure that the horse is not going faster than 12 seconds per furlong during the 3 furlongs work out, which is actually fairly fast, especially for a young and fairly green horse. I could see in the face of the rider that I was doing the wrong thing, mainly because I could see that he did not believe me, thinking that the horse will not go that fast and that I was some kind of fool. The horse did not work out of the gate but at first started slow and then picking up the speed. When the horse reached the quarter pole my hair stood up, as my stopwatch showed him going the first eight in 10 seconds, the quarter in 20, where the horse also broke his hind leg, splinting the hind cannon bone upright and the upper part of the hind fetlock in half. When the poor creature was walking to the stable you could actually hear the bones grinding in the fetlock.

Naturally I was very upset and yelled at the jockey: "I told you not to go any faster than 12!" His response was of course stupid, as he said something like: "I did not ask him for anything, he did it on his own", as if that should justify anything. I could blame the jockey but I did not. The horse went back to the farm, then he had an operation where the cannon was bolted right through with six huge screws and the horse was rested for some time, and then eventually turned out. I did not think that the horse would make the races again, and so I gave him to some girl for a future riding horse, as this animal was not only very flashy looking but also very kind and smart creature. In addition to that, I have foaled and raised that colt, as I have purchased the mare with him in the belly at the Fasig-Tipton sale in Kentucky. The owner of course objected but I did not want to see this animal go racing, because he was simply too fast for his good.

After about two years, the girl that had the horse was also working for me, where she kept giving me reports on the recovery. One day she said: "You have to come and see the horse, he flies around the paddock everyday, he loves to run. Do you think he could make the races?" She was a very decent person and also very good worker, and so after a while we came to an agreement that I will take the horse back in training and that we will see from it if the animal will make it and if not. I had also told her, that at the first sign of problems I will stop, as one could not help but to really like this animal, tall and black with 3 white stockings, extremely smart, very people friendly and of course fast as lightning.

I've trained and galloped the horse myself, because I did not trust anyone with this animal, as per the previous experience. However, I have encountered a problem, because by then I weighed around 180 pounds and that is extremely heavy for working the animal in higher speeds. And so considering my burdensome weight and the fear of letting anyone work the horse, I sort of taken from the training of Seattle Slew and decided that I will get the horse fit going only in the speeds of 15 second per eighth of a mile, commonly called two minute lick. I've started gradually increasing the speeds and as I went faster the impact of the front was fairly heavy, which concerned me. And so again, like in previous situations I kept looking to my riding for how to ease the burden of myself on the horse.

One day it simply came to me, that instead of trying to control the speed I should ride the speed, which is very hard to explain. In other words, I was not holding the horse back, because in such case one does nothing more than hinders the horse in motion, nor I let the horse spit its bit, because in such case I could not keep the horse together in the higher speed, as in balance and sufficiently collected. And so I picked up the reins put about 20 pounds into my hand and started to hand ride the horse, and hold behold it was genuine epiphany to say the least. I could not believe how everything has changed, I felt no impact of the feet at all, the breathing of the horse changed instantly and I felt like a genuine fool, discovering that I know shit, as this horse literally showed me how to ride. What I have actually learned was the genuine hand riding, as I am pointing out in my article about "riding in hand", though I've heard of hand riding and also believed and thought that I knew it, especially during the time when we were match-racing the youngsters where despite my weight I won most of them against much lighter riders.

At first I was able to keep this "step dance" for only a few steps, and what was really amazing and fascinating that every time I lost the rhythm the horse slowed down and waited for me to find it and pick it up again. In true words, the animal did not only found it interesting and comfortable he was also looking for it as I was, when we've lost it. I was never ever so revived to riding, never before and never again. I could not wait for the next day. He was first to get trained, and he too found some revived interest in the training. And so I was the first at the track gate every morning at 6 waiting for the gate to open so we get to go on a freshly raked track. There is no way to describe it, because one really has to live it to understand it. I opened up the speed to the two minute lick, this time I had it all in tack, and when going I felt nor heard any impact of the feet, so it felt literally like flying. I rode the horse in every step, hearing nothing but the horse's ears cutting through the wind, which is something I've never experienced before. I go around one time, as in one mile, which is sufficient work for any racehorse, but I was getting addicted to it.

Horses on the track are stopped on the outside of the track, and so when slowing down and then stopping the horse is taken away from the rail, which basically all horses already know as the end of gallop or work. As I finished the mile I started to ask the horse to drift out, but instead of drifting out his ears perked up, as if wondering about something. And so as I was already addicted to this experience I thought, how about one more time, and as I made the decision the horse dug in as if renewed, and I went again. If you would know anything about racing horses you would consider the following as insane, and so did I at that time, but my addiction to this novelty has gotten the better of me. I would go every day in this speed for two miles, and times I thought to myself, today I will leave the horse in, and when I did people could not even walk the horse around the shed row, as the horse looked obviously upset that he did not go out, jumping around, squealing, rearing up, bucking and kicking. It would be also fair to mention that the riding in hand requires fair amount of strength as well as fitness by the rider, and so in the old days women did not ride race horses for these reasons. This of course has changed today, because women can do anything men can, really? And so today, when finally the equality of women and men was achieved, the men now ride like women.

At those days I had my oldest daughter helping me at the barn, she was around eleven. One day we were sitting at the track kitchen eating breakfast, and the leading trainer, an older horseman, about 70 years old, came and sat at our table. This was sort of weird, because we've never talked, except of nodding head in greeting when passing one another, to show respect. He sat down and asked: "Is this your daughter?" I said yes, he then turned around to her and said: "Your dad has the best hands on the horse I have ever seen". Then he just got up and left. For a moment I did not know what to think, and to my daughter it had no meaning. Later on it dawned on me, that he simply wanted to let me know that he knew what I was doing when riding, as opposed most people would have no clue and noticed nothing. Since no horsemen say things like these to others, he addressed my daughter, so I would know that he sees it. Kind of tricky if you ask me, but horsemen are fairly clever people.

Amazingly from this point on riding of horses became very easy for me as well as on the horses, but no horse has ever replaced this one, as this was more likely the best and fastest horse I've ever sat on, and I rode several hundreds of horses during my life and sat on quite a few class 1 race horses. I remember jockeys, not knowing this horse, kept coming to the stable inquiring about this horse and wanting to ride the animal, often commenting: "I have never seen long stride like that on any horse". This is what I am referring to in the article about riding in hand, that by prolonging the stride, or reach if you will, of the rear, one not only lightens the frontend impact and carrying function, but also prolongs the stride as much as one to two feet in a single step.

What also became very amazing that in the past I had lighter riders riding the two minute lick with other horses, and the usual scenario was that the horse first pulled for about a half a mile, and at the end tired and I could not understand it. Often saying things like: "How can a horse tire going the mile in 2 minutes, while when racing the animal goes 1:37 or 1:38 for the mile?" (This may help you understand why so many race horses run on Lasix these days). Of course now I know the answer, because they did not ride the horse but rather sat on the animal while trying to control it. At first they held it back, which impeded the animal's breathing, and when they finely let the horse go the last part of the work out, not only that the horse was already tired from the lack of oxygen, but also the animal lost collection and as we say, fell apart. Amazingly I could do the two minute lick for twice the distance, for two miles, with 180 pounds on top, but also the animal never tired nor it breathed heavy. As soon as I pulled up, the animal had its breath back to normal within just a few minutes. And remember, he had six bolts in its hind leg.

The horse broke its leg, when he was two years old, because the rider let the horse go, while just sitting on top like a sack of potatoes looking pretty, not riding the horse, and as the horse extended to the extreme speed the collection fell apart and the horse did not bring its hind leg fast enough underneath itself and tripped with the hind leg and broke the cannon in half. I cannot blame the rider, because he did not know any better, and so we do not call the jockeys "pinheads" for nothing. Most race horses break down not because of the surface as some people would like you to believe, nor because they are like some human athletes, but they break down because people are stupid. They think they know when they do not, and so they never learn.

All in all, I could not keep on riding the horse, and the time came to ask a jockey to work the horse, as I needed to have a work out to qualify for start. I put the jockey on, told him the whole story, about how fast the horse is and such and so forth. And so as often it happens when with horses, this one made a fool out of me for sure. The animal totally refused to run with this jockey, who when dismounting commented angrily: "This horse needs blinkers or something, he does not want to run!" It became obvious that the horse simply refused, because the animal knew a better way of going, and simply refused the short reins of the jockey, and mainly the pushing on the neck, and simply stuck his head up like some giraffe, and refused. I remember the clocker saying to me: "You want me to put this in the newspapers, it's not even a work?" The horse went the three eighths in 40 second, where normal decent work out is about 35 or 36, and slower in 37.

And so now what, as it became more than obvious that I have screwed up the horse for racing purposes, as the horse preferred the comfort of my riding against the pushing-off-balance riding by the jockeys, because that is what most actually do, throwing the horse on its forehand and to prevent falling down the horse accelerates. It's downright disgusting if you ask me, and they all do it, just watch racing. In any case, I had to come up with something, and knowing the horse I figured that game is the answer, as in running against other horses, but the fear of him going too fast was still haunting me.

And so I came up to a different jockey that came couple times to my stable inquiring about this horse, and I asked him to work the animal. I have told him that I want to work him with other horses out of the starting gate. He asked me what kind of horse he was, and I told him that he was still a maiden, as in not ever winning a race, and will be a first time starter, though he was already 4 years old. He could not believe it, saying that this horse is definitely a higher caliber horse, as he often seen me going around the track two or three times. And so I told him that we could cash a nice bet here, and so when he gets out of the gate, let the animal run freely for a few steps and then slow him down. And of course this was no problem for him, and so we agreed. The horse entered the starting gate with other three horses, and as the gate popped the horse was instantly two lengths on top, so much for the fear that he would not break out of the gate. Then the whole scenario looked like some play, because he was not running really fast because the other horses were fairly slow, and so he was looking around and waiting for them while running the entire half some two lengths in front and in about 50 seconds, which is fairly slow, and was what I hoped for.

After that work out he came back a little quartered up, and so it became obvious that he will need couple more of these, and so I decided to give the horse day off and go home for one day to see my wife and kids. I've lived some 2 hours away at that time. I wanted to give the horse mash, as it was customary after every strenuous work, but I wanted to leave early. At the same time I did not trust the help much with making the mash, and so I thought he can do without it. The girl that owned the horse and I have left for home only to come back the next morning around 6 where I saw the veterinarian's truck by the stable. I rushed in and found the horse laying down already in shock as he was afflicted with extreme case of colic and died within an hour in extreme pain at the vet's hospital. When in the hospital I did not want the horse to die in the stall, and persuaded the vet to let me walk the animal on the grass, to which he expressed himself by saying: "I do not want any dead animals in my yard for God sake!" In any case as we struggled across the pavement to reach the grass the poor creature dropped to the ground, and the very hurried veterinarian went quickly to get the tractor, wrapping chains around the animal's legs dragging the horse down the pavement, while the animal was still breathing. Very painful and unforgettable sight and experience to say the least.

The unfortunate girl that stayed behind to take care of the horses forgot to water them off that evening, and in addition not giving the horse mash that evening the horse got really bad impaction colic and by the time it was discovered the horse was already in shock. I remember one of my clients saying to me: "You know this was destiny", and I replied: "I know", for if this horse would have made the races my life would have been different, and that not for the better, but rather for the worse. But because of the life circumstances, or the will of God if you will, led me to a different path not chosen by me, I now thank God for taking the horse from me, for I have learned from the animal more than I could hope for. The shoeing of horses and the laboring under them in my advanced age taught me much about life, peoples and animals, about the nature, the world and the things of the spirit, and so I write about it all, hoping that it may help a soul here and there.

God teaches a man through life, while in fun or pleasures one gains nothing except in time boredom, while losing the will to live, as against in the struggles of life one grows stronger and wiser and content, as his body ages while the sprit renews itself every morning, hence no need for drugs or alcohol or other pacifiers.

Here is the dilemma in learning how to ride, because as I left the racetrack and started again to break young horses for other people, or riding horses for other people, I arrived to another epiphany. When I was young and starting young horses for other riders and horseman, we the young boys used to think that the old riders leave the breaking of horses for the young, because they lost their heart as they got older. In the days of my graying hair it became more than obvious that they simply could not do it, because they would ruin the horses for other riders. In other words, just like my racehorse refused to run for the jockey, because he got the taste of something better, when I would start a young horse in my advanced age the horses became more responsive as well as comfortable with me, and then when the lesser rider would ride these horses he would simply end up annoying them since the animal was used to something better. And so what I had to do after leaving the track when starting horses or riding for others is to ride them the way people were accustomed to riding them. And so I end up at the same place as the horse, doing something I did not like. In short I knew better way of riding, but I had to do it the simpler and more primitive way. How long can anyone do this in anything, knowing the better way while having to do it the worse way?

And so, at the end of all that, all that I have learned in relevance to riding of horses became simply useless, especially because it cannot be taught, and so all I have left is to point out to others, from what I have lived and learned, what not to do, while hoping in helping some folks in understanding of horses. This is why you cannot find anything in how to with horses on my site. On the same note whenever you read or hear anything about how to in riding horses, you know that these are fools, because they did not even learn enough to know that it cannot be taught by a human being, but only by the horse and life, or by the horse and God if you will. And so, live and learn, and most of all be patient with yourself, as horses learn much faster than humans, about 10 to 20 times faster since their learning is purely instinctive, as opposed to humans where it is often more about desire rather than necessity, where the latter is truly the mother of learning, while the former is pure vanity. And so the desire to learn is an impediment in learning, because any desire is always blinding, and so we say that "curiosity killed the cat". The desire for knowledge is also the reason for the fall of man, alongside with envy. One is wise to leave these things up to God, or life if you will.

I did not dream or wish to be anything or anyone, let alone what I am or where I am, but God has put me on the path not of my choosing, and I walked it, and such is life.

In conclusion just one small final note. Without the proper foundation, in this case in dealing with horses, no one can learn much in his or her entire life. Sadly no one teaches that anymore, as there are hardly any people left to put up with such hardship. People want to live easy lives, which inevitably leads to stupidity and useless, aimless and boring life, and finally to slow death. One is wise to learn from life what is presented, while the pursuing of goals and dreams causes one to miss it.


Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek