Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Natural Ride for A Natural Horse

Iceland likes to think of the Icelandic Horse as a "natural horse", one that is able to be left out in the pastures 24 / 7, raised in the herds with little interference.

This is fine, but what happens when the horses are then introduced to their riding careers?

Shoes are nailed on; boots are put in place on the fetlocks; icelandic-style saddles (which may be unbalanced / uncentered, too long, and / or too narrow) are put on; jointed snaffles are put in the mouth; and the mouth tightened by a noseband; rider sits to the weaker part of the horse's back; puts his weight on the reins and the mechanics of the snaffle come into play; and the whip is there for... whatever reason. The horse is held in frame, ventroflexed, and fighting the bit.

Pretty picture? NOT!

But this is what is taught at the icelandic-style riding schools, by the icelandic-style trained trainers, and supported in the show ring.

How natural is this?

Can't we take some inspiration from the Indians who worked *with* their natural horses, and took the time to ride *with* the horse and not against the horse?