[ Foundation (2) ]

The most important thing in all this is that the handler listens to the horse and starts to understand why his horse behaves the way it does.  Horses have survived for many years evolving gradually from the fox-sized, forest-dwelling Hyracotherium (also known as Eohippus) over 60 million years ago.  This evolutionary process can be viewed as the horse’s own foundation – and what a solid foundation it is, but somehow we humans think we can change this, or be more important than this.  The reality is that we are no match for millions of years of learning how to stay alive.  Without a doubt the horse would not be with us today if he had simply ignored the rustle in the trees, or taken no notice of the movement he is certain he saw in the distance.  What we can do, however, is be sensitive and sympathetic to the horse's reactions and responses, and then build his trust in us (the handler) so he understands that we would not intentionally put him in danger.  Once he understands this then if we are certain that whatever is rustling in the bushes does not pose a threat then he shouldn’t be worried either – this kind of response is based solely on trust.



So, successfully rebuilding the foundation of a horse relies in the first instance on understanding and respecting why he behaves the way he does, creating a communication through the use of body language and energy such that we can start to build his confidence in his handler and in various situations such as going over, between, under, past, through, and round obstacles and objects.



Developing a ridden foundation is about developing the horse’s ability to hold his own responsibilities and respond with softness, lightness and willingness to the minimum cue.  This is a huge subject on its own but basically I aim to develop and help others develop horses that are a pleasure to own and ride because they are calm, confident and respond to the lightest or smallest request.  There is no greater feeling than that of a horse that is feeling back to you as you ride a dressage test (you move your hips over and the horse moves his – quarters in; you move your hips to the inside and release your inside leg and your horse does the same – side pass); or jump a course of fences (you slow your energy and lift through your body, he slows and lifts his – adjusted striding between fences;  you focus, look and bend through your ribs to the right, he changes his focus and turns to the right – setting up for the next fence). 



And what is a foundation for the rider?


In most cases this involves a lot of changes that need to be made in the way the human thinks, responds, moves and rides.  Most importantly the rider/handler needs to learn how to build the horse's trust in him.  This involves understanding why the horse behaves the way he does, learning to read the horse in the moment and then learning the most appropriate way to respond to the horse in all sorts of different situations.  The rider/handler needs to learn how to use his body and energy to affect the horse’s speed and direction both on the ground and when riding.  The rider also needs to learn how to affect the horses speed and direction through his intention, focus, body, legs and energy, rather than overusing the hands.  Gradually the rider/handler’s foundation builds up in layers, as does the horse's foundation.  We can apply layer upon layer, achieving more and more together, but it must be remembered that each layer is important if we want to ensure any future layers are solid – right through to performance and beyond.


Quote:


“The mortar in a wall needs to be as strong as the bricks.  A wall is only as strong as the bond between the mortar and the building blocks themselves (partnership), which is effectively the quality of the specification (knowledge)” - Viki Sheppard

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Riding Instructor, Classical Riding Instructor, Western Riding Instructor, Horse Problems, Horsemanship, Backing Horses Hampshire, Restarting Horses Hampshire, Natural Horsemanship Hampshire, Viki Sheppard, Natural Horsemanship Practitioner, Equine Psychologist, Natural Horsemanship Trainer, Natural Horsemanship Methods, Equine Behaviorist, Understanding Horses, Beau-Cheval, Horse Whisperer,

Riding Instructor, Classical Riding Instructor, Western Riding Instructor, Horse Problems, Horsemanship, Backing Horses Hampshire, Restarting Horses Hampshire, Natural Horsemanship Hampshire, Viki Sheppard, Natural Horsemanship Practitioner, Equine Psychologist, Natural Horsemanship Trainer, Natural Horsemanship Methods, Equine Behaviorist, Understanding Horses, Beau-Cheval, Horse Whisperer,

Riding Instructor, Classical Riding Instructor, Western Riding Instructor, Horse Problems, Horsemanship, Backing Horses Hampshire, Restarting Horses Hampshire, Natural Horsemanship Hampshire, Viki Sheppard, Natural Horsemanship Practitioner, Equine Psychologist, Natural Horsemanship Trainer, Natural Horsemanship Methods, Equine Behaviorist, Understanding Horses, Beau-Cheval, Horse Whisperer,

Riding Instructor, Classical Riding Instructor, Western Riding Instructor, Horse Problems, Horsemanship, Backing Horses Hampshire, Restarting Horses Hampshire, Natural Horsemanship Hampshire, Viki Sheppard, Natural Horsemanship Practitioner, Equine Psychologist, Natural Horsemanship Trainer, Natural Horsemanship Methods, Equine Behaviorist, Understanding Horses, Beau-Cheval, Horse Whisperer,

Riding Instructor, Classical Riding Instructor, Western Riding Instructor, Horse Problems, Horsemanship, Backing Horses Hampshire, Restarting Horses Hampshire, Natural Horsemanship Hampshire, Viki Sheppard, Natural Horsemanship Practitioner, Equine Psychologist, Natural Horsemanship Trainer, Natural Horsemanship Methods, Equine Behaviorist, Understanding Horses, Beau-Cheval, Horse Whisperer,

Riding Instructor, Classical Riding Instructor, Western Riding Instructor, Horse Problems, Horsemanship, Backing Horses Hampshire, Restarting Horses Hampshire, Natural Horsemanship Hampshire, Viki Sheppard, Natural Horsemanship Practitioner, Equine Psychologist, Natural Horsemanship Trainer, Natural Horsemanship Methods, Equine Behaviorist, Understanding Horses, Beau-Cheval, Horse Whisperer,

Riding Instructor, Classical Riding Instructor, Western Riding Instructor, Horse Problems, Horsemanship, Backing Horses Hampshire, Restarting Horses Hampshire, Natural Horsemanship Hampshire, Viki Sheppard, Natural Horsemanship Practitioner, Equine Psychologist, Natural Horsemanship Trainer, Natural Horsemanship Methods, Equine Behaviorist, Understanding Horses, Beau-Cheval, Horse Whisperer,

Riding Instructor, Classical Riding Instructor, Western Riding Instructor, Horse Problems, Horsemanship, Backing Horses Hampshire, Restarting Horses Hampshire, Natural Horsemanship Hampshire, Viki Sheppard, Natural Horsemanship Practitioner, Equine Psychologist, Natural Horsemanship Trainer, Natural Horsemanship Methods, Equine Behaviorist, Understanding Horses, Beau-Cheval, Horse Whisperer,