There is a lot of segregation in the horse community. People feel pressured to ‘pick a style’.
Natural. Classical. Dressage. Jumping. Recreational. Rustic. Posh.
A lot of thought is given to the colour of the tack, to the type of riding clothes, to the equipment you use and the techniques and methods you follow.
Ok. Fine. But what about the horse?
What style of riding do YOU follow? This question makes me confused because where is the horse in that? Maybe people may think I treat horses as a type of God, but for me, they really are.
How about we look at the horse we are with at any one time and try to find out what THEY are good at, what their natural inclinations are, and capitalise on that? Rather than imposing our own ambitionsor styles upon them.
Fashion, ambition, even pedagogical education can all act as prejudice.
I’ve seen people who are self proclaimed Natural Horsemanship devotees who value no violence and pain to the horse, whom when their horse wouldn’t stand still to be brushed, took the end of they boot into their horses stomach with a mindless kick.
I’ve seen high level dressage riders in spurs and a double bridle treat their horses with joy, respect and gentleness.
Be careful of the package something comes wrapped in, but pay VERY close attention to the substance. A natural trainer may have simply taken the prejudice commonly associated with classical riding and just put it in a different costume, different equipment, different name. That is all just superficial.
The most important perspective is that of the horse. Their experience of our activities with them. NOT the other way around.
For me everything else is merely a formality.