So the arena has been stalled at an unusable point for a month due to the construction crews moving to a cow/calf operation project that had to get done before calving. Um, arg. This has effectively eliminated any chance of riding to days when the footing happens to be perfect in the pasture or on the gravel roads, which doesn’t happen with frequency in February in Iowa. Of course, before the indoor arena project I had an outdoor arena which I could use with some regularity in winter, but the location of the indoor is where the outdoor was, so I am now effectively hamstrung for riding, until construction begins again in mid-March.
So I’ve been reading. The latest book is “Dressage Masters, Techniques and Philosophies of Four Legendary Trainers”. It is an interview book, simply written and it is really wonderful. I bought it because it has my dressage hero, Klaus Balkenhol, as one of the four, but I’ve found also that the other trainers – Ernst Hoyos, Dr. Uwe Schulten-Baumer and George Theodorescu are equally admirable. It makes me feel good every time I realize that all good trainers sound fundamentally the same. They all have first a love of the horse. That seems obvious, until you meet a trainer who doesn’t love horses. I bought this book for my Kindle for like $15 or something.
The quote from it that I want to share with you was spoken by Ellen Schulten-Baumer, whose father, Dr. Uwe Schulten-Baumer, trained her. She currently has 5 Grand Prix dressage horses in her barn that she and her dad trained from 3 year olds. I’m just going to share this quote and get out, because I can add nothing to it. Rock on, people.
“I learned something very important from my father. When a horse doesn’t perform a lesson as expected, I first have to ask myself whether the horse is capable. If the answer is yes, then I must think about how I apply my aids. I must use them better so the horse understands exactly what I want. This may involve riding more preparatory exercises. If I can’t get it right fairly quickly, then I go to something else. It is unfair and unproductive to drill a horse; this causes too much physical and mental stress. I tell my students this also. If they just can’t get it right, they can think about their aids overnight and try again tomorrow. Then the horse and rider get a fresh star together.”