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Anonymous asked in PetsHorses · 2 months ago

What makes a good and bad horse rider?

3 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    A "good" rider uses her aids to get the horse to willingly do what she wants.  She knows how to cue the horse, when to reinforce her cues, and works to keep the cues as minimal as possible while ensuring they are followed.  She knows how to use her weight, her legs, her hands, her posture, etc., to cue the horse.

    She controls her own body so as to best allow the horse to control his body.  She keeps her center of gravity over the horse's center of gravity so as not to interfere with his balance.  She doesn't lean off to the side like she's riding a motorcycle, she doesn't get left behind, she knows where to place her balance when going uphill or downhill, etc.

    She maintains control of her weight placement.  For example, she never smacks herself onto the saddle when posting the trot or coming down after a jump.

    She knows how to read what the horse is telling her.  She listens to his posture, his signals through the bit, his tenseness, relaxation, compliance, stiffness, etc., to know what he's feeling. Then she knows how to help him do what is asked.

    A "bad" rider may be many things.  She may be incompetent or unschooled.  She may use her reins to keep her balance, hurting the horse's mouth.  She may lose control of her weight, hurting the horse's back or throwing him off balance.

    She may regard the horse as a robotic automaton who has no feelings, no fears, no thoughts, but should just immediately know what she wants no matter how confusing her cues are.

    She might overreact to every action the horse takes.  For example, if the horse doesn't immediately canter when she wants, she might resort to spurs or whips before she makes sure her cues are correct or the horse understands what she wants.

    On the other hand, some "bad" riders are just the opposite.  They think "light hands" mean the reins should be flapping in the breeze with no contact at all, when in fact it means the rider has light consistent contact at all times.  The "bad" rider's light hands mean that ever rein cue requires the rider to move her entire hand in such a way that the horse is inevitably startled by the sudden grab at his mouth and can't smoothly react, while the "good" rider's light hands means that the horse can feel and react instantly to even a tiny finger squeeze.  This "good" contact is not hurtful to the horse, and isn't a death grip or heavy contact.

    No matter the pronouns, the good rider knows how to help the horse.  The bad rider, whether they know how to or not, does not.

  • Amber
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    Jumping off what "beau" said (good answer btw) to me a bad rider and horse owner, does what they want and not what's best for their horse. I used to volunteer at a horse rescue before co-vid and there was quite a few ex-jumpers there - all who had knee, shoulder and back problems from being over jumped and needed medication - one even needed surgery because he'd been jumped too young over too high fences. Just thoughtless attitude to horses being toys that you can do what you want with and it's the horse that suffers for that attitude.

    I've met a lot of riders that knew a lot about riding and were excellent at it. They thought they knew a lot about horse care as well, but often lacked a real understanding of the horse as an animal. They didn't understand how the horses vision worked so couldn't understand why their horse acted "spooky" when taken out of brilliant sunlight into a dark indoor arena. The attitude was "he always plays up when first in here." Or " he's fresh and excited" "he trips because he's lazy with his feet until he gets going." No. It's because it takes at least 30 minutes for their eyes to adjust. 

    People want to blame horses but a horse is just a reflection of the person riding/handling them. Learn about the psychology of the horse. Horses are pray animals not "spooky". Learn horse anatomy because it can help you know the difference between bad behaviour and how the horses body works. 

  • ?
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    Generally, a bad rider blames his horse and uses it as a tool rather than a partnership. 

    In terms of actual riding, a good rider uses invisible cues. They should make riding look effortless, so no excessive aids or over-riding. They should be sympathetic to the horse, positive and encouraging. 

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