September 14, 2015
November 9, 2015


It is often thought that the rider's aids must be logical and systematic. Mary Wanless BHSI proposes that it is far more important that a system of aids be 'reflexive'. This means we apply our aids and horse responds in the way we want without going through some long reasoned out process. It means that the horse cannot 'not' respond in the way we wish.

It is really important that we shed ourselves of the belief that the horse has some internal conversation with himself which goes "Oh the rider has put this leg here, that leg there and is pulling on this rein – so that means I must do X". Having this belief thrusts far too much responsibility and intelligence upon the horse, and reduces your aids to mere tricks that the horse must somehow learn the intricacies of, before he can respond as you wish. The darker side of this way of thinking, that of assigning too much intelligence to the horse, is that you can start blaming the horse for his choices. Mary puts it perfectly when she says:
"The many riders who think they are appealing to their horse's rational mind have enormously high expectations; they are assuming that the horse has a degree of choice about his movement patterns which they – despite their superior intelligence – do not have about their own."
So all aids should have their basis in the fact that they are the most likely aids to produce results by virtue of their physics or by virtue of the horse's natural reactions. In our course 'The How of Riding' we cover how the rider's body and aids affect the horse and how the horse affects the rider. In our course you will learn the skills needed to guide your horse in the language 'horse'!


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