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About Riders

 
 
Ev
erything a rider does and even thinks (because thoughts unconsciously change our muscles, not because horse's are psychic) is transmitted to the horse.  Even through the saddle a horse feels the riders body, where the weight it positioned (even which way a riders head is looking), and whether the rider is calm or nervous. So most rider behaviour is about communicating with the horse, to keep them, the rider and everyone in the vicinity safe.
  • Riders, are as diverse a group as exist in any other sport or activity. They may be school children, bankers, farm hands, artists or professors.
  • Getting down off the horse is not always the best way to control a scared horse, and in some cases may be more difficult than staying onboard. 
  • It is not possible to tell the age of the horse from looking at it, and it's age may not be relevant to its experience.  A horse that is perfectly happy to walk calmly alongside a busy road, may be terrified of umbrellas, alpacas or other things that we don't think it should be. 
  • The age of the rider does not necessarily tell you how much riding experience they have or how confident they are with that particular horse.  A fall, or other riding accident or even a break from riding can affect a rider's confidence a great deal.  Equally, young riders may over-estimate their abilities or under-estimate their affect on others due to their inexperience socially (they are young!).

 

Myths
  • Horse Riders are Elite\Snobs:
    •  A rider sitting tall in the saddle is not trying to be superior to others, this is the best balanced riding position.  It distributes the riders weight evenly on the horse, and the rider carries some of his\her own weight instead of sitting heavily on the horse's back.
    • Like other sports there are uniforms for various types of competitive riding.  For hunting and many other sports this means a jacket and white shirt.  In competition this uniform is actually to stop any favouritism, the judge cannot tell whether the rider is rich or poor, all riders wear the same uniform.  It is also the only sport in which men and women compete against one another, so a standardised uniform is used.
  • Horse Riders are loud \ rude \ cruel  -

Because the horse can tell how the rider is feeling, many riders learn to bluff well.  When the horse is nervous the rider puts on an air of total confidence, so the horse will be happy to follow the orders of this 'leader'.  This may include a loud voice or apparent minimisation of others concerns (voicing what they are wanting the horse to feel - "that's nothing, walk on!").

Because horses follow the orders of strong leaders (in their own herd) a good tap with a whip or loud confident voice may be used to tell the horse to ignore their fears.  This is not because the rider doesn't care for the horse or is a generally uncaring person, this is all about conveying confidence to the horse.  Riders are like sergeant-majors in the army, potentially they are outmuscled by all the army recruits but their swagger and loud voice means they are rarely challenged - even when the recruit is scared, he does what he is told believing the sergeant-major will not get him killed.

  • Motorists or others may be offended if the rider does not give them a wave of thanks or acknowledgement.  In some situations the rider is in more danger than may be apparent to those on the ground (sitting on an unexploded bomb).  Both hands may be required, and the rider may need to keep looking away from the danger (a horse will look where the rider is looking) and pushing the horse forward.  All riders should be able to thank you for courtesy shown, but they may be busy trying to make sure that you, and they, remain uninjured.