This Horse is Stupid
 By Winniefield Park   •   23rd Aug 2013   •   11,179 views   •   4 comments
This Horse is Stupid

A week of helping with horse camp is a good reminder of how beginners think about horses and riding. This year, twenty three teen-aged girls swarmed the barn for riding lessons and some theory. It was a good group, eager to try things and learn as much as they could. After five half-hour lessons, many could post the trot. It’s interesting to see someone go from getting on a horse for the very first time, to actually ‘getting it’. Most of the kids we meet are really great and we all have fun. But what is really entertaining is what some of them say.

This Horse is Dumb
This statement makes us laugh, although it’s annoying. Inevitably, someone gets frustrated and announces, ‘this horse is stupid’. Usually it’s because the horse has ignored their feeble attempts at steering or making it walk. Or, the horse has decided that the round bale stored at the end of the arena is far more compelling than the rider on its back. It isn’t fair to criticize a student, because after all, they really don’t know any better. But every so often, we’re tempted to say to someone getting really pouty or whiny, that horse is dumb, but it’s smarter than you! But that wouldn’t be nice or encouraging at all.

How Do You Tell Them Apart?
On the last day of the camp, one of the girls asked me the name of the horse she was riding. I was quite surprised, because after five days, I figured they would know all the horses. I told her and she looked at the horse, a big bay, standing in the aisle with a pinto, grey and chestnut, and asked, ‘how can you tell them apart’. By this time, I was getting pretty tired, and my brain couldn’t come up with the obvious answer, so I just shrugged, and said, “I guess you just get to know them.” Not a great answer, but she seemed okay with it.

But, I’m a Ballerina!
One girl took ballet lessons, and we heard a lot about this. We often had to correct her for turning her toes out and lifting her heels as she rode. Finally, after what seemed like the millionth reminder she said, “but I take ballet. We have to keep our toes turned out.” Ummmm, not on horseback.

Best Question Ever
The best question was from a girl who had never ridden before, but who had all the right clothes. She arrived in shiny new boots, beige riding pants, a polo shirt and brand new helmet. It was quite a contrast to the old tights and rubber boots her camp-mates were wearing. But while all the other girls got busy brushing and picking out hooves, she hung back. Finally, the horse was tacked up and ready to go, and she was to take the first lesson. She looked apprehensively at the horse and asked, “do I have to touch it?" Yep, you have to touch it.

Image Credit: © Zsolt Farkas |
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Valkyrie   MOD 
LOL! I volunteer four hours a week at the riding centre where I take lessons to help pay for those lessons. I've been doing it for a few months now, and the people coming in are all so different.

You've got:

- The older riders. They are keen as mustard, and resigned to getting a little dirty. They may be getting on in years, but they're not afraid of putting in the hard yards. They want to learn how to tack up and untack, how to brush the horse, how to lead it and put on the rug etc.

- Child riders. They've had more saddle time than me and know exactly what to do with their usual ponies, helping you tack up and everything. Tell them they're riding a different pony and everything goes straight out the window. They get nervous and shy and hang back.

- Teenager rider type #1. This type are keen to help, just like the older riders. They want to learn. They want you to show them exactly how to do something, and then they want to try doing it themselves. Which usually means the p
  Aug 24, 2013  •  11,672 views
I used to earn my riding lessons by helping out at the riding school, and some of the things first time riders used to say really tested my self control that prevented me laughing. The best ones were "Oh my gosh, it moved!" and the ADULT (yes, and adult) who pointed to a Shetland and said "Oh, I want to ride the baby one!". And there was the over-excited 10 year old who jumped on so enthusiastically that she fell over the horses back and face planted the the ground on the other side...
  Aug 24, 2013  •  11,964 views
Sometimes I sympathize with riders because I know their nervous so I learned a trick to copy their body language and their tone of voice. Works really well xD
  Sep 8, 2013  •  11,690 views
LOL!! this is so good and funny :P u r a really good writer :D
  Sep 11, 2013  •  11,745 views
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