Continued from ‘How Can You Become a Good Rider? – 1’

Excerpt from Dr Gerd Heuschmann’s presentation to Equitopia Conference, June 2021

Where Do We Start The Journey? 

“If you are a beginner, find the right place to learn. Make sure it is a place where they really love their horses and ponies. Some riding schools are more like an industry – working their horses too hard, trying to make as much money as possible. Stay away from those places and find a place where the horse comes first. Some people say that becoming a good rider is something achievable to everyone. I don’t agree with this. It has a certain price.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have enough money to afford lessons, if you don’t have enough money to care for your horse properly, you cannot achieve becoming a skilled rider. Becoming a good rider involves high costs, very slow progress and often a lot of stress. It is not easy.

Do You Have the Time?

Another thing you have to have is time. This is much easier said than done, because in this modern world, everyone is always in a rush. But in riding, if you want to really get it, you have to slow down. Even when you visit your horse at the barn, make sure you have enough time. If you are in a rush, stay home!

You have to be able to slow down mentally, or you will never connect with your horse. Of course the earlier you start to ride, the better. The best start is to be born on a farm with good horse people and spend time with horses since childhood. Of course, not everyone has that opportunity, but simply spending time, a lot of time, with horses, is vital.

Spend years and years with horses and fill your head with knowledge about horses as much as possible. If you just show up to your lesson and drive back home 60 minutes later, it won’t do. You have to become a horse person. If you don’t, you will never be a good rider. You also have to learn from the old masters, you have to have a theoretical basis for becoming a skilled rider. And don’t forget to ride as often as you can! Ride as many horses as you can. 

Charles De Knuffy once said, when asked how long it takes to become a good rider: ” if you really ride a lot – and this should be a few thousand different horses, you can learn the basics in 25 years.” Digesting this sentence you realize that the proper art of riding is not available for many of us. But nonetheless, we can become good riders.

Start as young as possible, ride as often as possible, as many different horses as possible. But don’t ride to show off, ride to understand horses. Sit down with a seat open to feel, not to dominate. Then you learn from the horse, then you start to find harmony.

Horse and Human in Harmony

The highest goal in riding is achieving the highest level of harmony with the horse. And if you can combine this harmony with the technical aspects of riding, if you can jump a fence, ride uphill, downhill out in nature with your Grand Prix dressage horse, if you can gallop in the field and the horse has his ears forward and is eager to work, and you can still ride and win a Grand Prix, then you are a classical rider of the highest level. 

If you win a Grand Prix and you have to fear that you might lose your life galloping in the field, because the horse is so stiff that he might buck and jump and rear, then you are a bad rider and you have not understood the basics. 

You have to stay open and willing to learn your entire life.”

If you are passionate about the power of education to make a world of horses and humans in harmony – help us make that happen.

Join us as an Equitopia ambassador through the button below – your horse will thank you!