Schooling for Young Riders|
John Richard Young
(training) A narrative of training a young rider and pony together.
This is one of my all-time favorite training books. The good humor, the willingness of the author to lay out his mistakes and disappointments, and the narrative style make it both approachable and enjoyable. He starts with a slightly spoiled but mostly untouched three year old pony stallion and gives you the case study of making him into a solid citizen with the help of his daughter, Linda. This book is a classic that every horseman should read.
|Classic wisdom, by ponydom on April 26, 2007|
|I probably checked this book out a dozen times when I was a child, reading it cover to cover each time. As I was contemplating a new project pony, and also thinking about a pony for my daughter, I had a craving to read it again. Tragically, the library's copy is now listed as lost, but happily, I was able to find a used copy.|
As a rule, most books on riding and schooling limit themselves to telling the reader, in effect: "Now this is how things should be done." Often the authors don't even give clear reasons for many of their statements. They blithely ignore the possibility that things might not turn out as they should. Everything is supposed to work out smoothly from start to finish with never a hitch and certainly no unhappy mention of bumps and bruises and periods of discouragement.
Unfortunately, however, life has a most exasperating way of not always turning out as we think it should, and the schooling of a horse is a prime example of this. For, while there are certain basic prinicples to be followed, every horse or pony is a unique individual with a distinctive personality and his own peculiar reactions. Though they may be aware of this in theory, most novices are a long time to be able to analyze and understand the manifold reaction which they find themselves faced with -- and which the books they have read do not even mention. This is why we who teach schooling - as distinguished from teaching only riding - so often hear the plaint, "My horse won't do this" or "I just can't make him do that," and "He's so bullheaded!"
This can be confusing and very discouraging to a young rider when he discovers that, as one girl put it, "the horse hasn't read the book."
Young on typical books about riding for children:
Practically all the authors are glowingly cheerful. They bend over backward shielding their young audience from the simple facts of life in the saddle. Accidents never happen. Nobody ever falls off. All ponies are miraculously schooled to perfection. Ponies are dear little pals, always eager to please, never willful or contrary. "Taking the bit in his teeth" is merely an expression from folklore. No nice pony would think of doing it and all ponies are nice. Just do as the lady says. As in fairy tales, there is always a happy ending.
Most of these cheery works are illustrated, some with photographs, many with drawings. The overwhelming majority of the photographs prove nothing except that the rider's heels are down, the reins are too long (the show-ring influence), and the relative positions of mount and rider are correct; that is, the pony is not on top.
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