Denny's Horsemanship Goals

Friday, January 7, 2011

So about a month or so ago Denny Emerson of Tamarack Hill Farm fame, began posting his Horsemanship Goals on his Facebook page.  It started after hearing comments about kids at George Morris clinics who were expected to *gasp!* take care of their own horses.  And as in most other things Denny says, I agree with his goals.  So...

1)  Learn about sport horse and racing pedigrees.
I know a bit about pedigrees.  Not as much as I would like though.

2)  Start to develop an independent seat so you don't bounce at the sitting trot and canter.
Lunge lessons, lunge lessons, lunge lessons...

3)  Ride bareback enough so that you are completely comfortable, on all kinds of terrain and at all gaits.  And, while you're at it, learn how to get on bareback.
Spent many a winter riding ponies bareback.  Or riding Dalal around the show ground bareback.  Or riding Dalal up to the barn bareback because I'm too lazy to walk.

4)  Clean stalls.
I'm practically an expert.

5)  Teach your pony to drive.
This is something I have wanted to do for a long time.

6)  Show your horse or pony in fitting and showmanship classes.
I never showed in fitting and showmanship, but I was taught how to.  And I showed in Arab halter before.

7)  Ride in a 100 mile trail ride or endurance race.  Or at least a 50 mile.
I took my pony on a 20 mile or so trail ride over 2 days.  I would love the opportunity to ride in an endurance race though.

8)  Learn how to determine distances between fences by developing an accurate 3 foot stride.  Then, learn ALL the math.  Know the normal distance in a bounce, a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 stride line.
I do have a 3 foot stride.  And I pretty much know the distances, but I still get a little bit confused.

9)  Take your horse for a sleigh ride.

10)  Ride western if you ride english, ride english if you ride western.
I've been showing Dalal in Western Pleasure classes for the last 2 years.

11)  Try a discipline totally unfamiliar to you, or a breed totally unfamiliar to you, like perhaps, saddleseat.
I actually really want to learn how to ride saddleseat.  Maybe I'll give Nikki a call and see if I can take lessons at C and G...

12)  Breed and raise a foal.
Well, I've been helping with Spider.

13)  When that foal gets older, break him to ride.
I was the first one on Titus' back this fall.

14)  Ride in races, either flat or over fences.

15)  Study--really study--the great riders, so that you have a picture in your head about how whatever it is you do, should be done.  Another way to say this:  Acquire GREAT role models, whatever your sport.
That's why I love going to Rolex every year, I have the chance to study, in person, riders like Phillip Dutton, Becky Holder, William Fox-Pitt, Boyd Martin.  They are the greats of this day and I will take anything I can learn from them.

16)  Try, try, try to get to ride an APPROPRIATE horse or pony, that will let you make mistakes while you learn.
I am very lucky that I have had the chance to ride horses like Kaye and Miss.  Both of them have let me make mistakes while also saving my butt so that I didn't get hurt.  Best learning tool ever!

17)  Whatever your sport, go watch the very best riders, on the very best horses, at the very best competitions, and STUDY, ANALYSE, and EVALUATE, what you are watching.
Again, why I go to Rolex every year.

18)  Learn all about bits, and how they work, and the principles behind various kinds.
I know about the bits we use, but not much about all the others.

19)  Create the kind of bond with your horse that Dorothy Trapp had with Molokai.
I have two horses that I have been lucky enough to have that bond.  

20)  Try to emulate Becky Holder's total commitment to self improvement, a striving toward excellence that won't take no for an answer.