This was last weeks column...with a plea for input from you guys at the bottom.
Riding It Forward, The FRRC Steps Up
By Janet Huntington
In September I wrote an article ,”When Do We Step In?” I wondered when was the best time to step in and offer help to a fellow horseman who was obviously in need of some advice about riding or caring for his horse.
Horse people as a rule tend to be proud and stiff necked and they don’t want to feel the fool. It becomes a delicate balance to offer unasked advice to someone who desperately needs it, but not sound like a know-it-all, butting in where we don’t belong.
Other folks would be more than willing to ask but just don’t know where to get help which is actually, well helpful.
The Fountain Riding and Roping Club have taken my question and run with it. The club is planning a series of clinics offered to riders of all levels. The clinics will be free or low cost to anyone who owns a horse or would like to own one someday.
FRRC treasurer, Ardith Bruce, said, “Sometimes people need help and are afraid to ask, in a clinic environment they won’t feel singled out.”
The clinics are currently in the planning stages, but they will begin with some very basic and vital information.
Ideas under consideration are:
Want To Buy A Horse? What You Need To Know
Feed, Feet and Shelter
Adjusting and Fitting Tack.
Parents of Kids with Horses, What You Need To Know
Manners, Manners, Manners!
The FRRC has several members who are working or retired professionals in several equine fields. They have volunteered to lead these clinics and are open to teaching more advanced levels of riding; from horsemanship skills, improving balance and hands, to cattle work, reining and roping.
The clinics will be held at the FRRC arena. Times and dates are still being ironed out.
Many of these clinics will not require a horse in order to participate.
This is a generous community service, it will be interesting to see how it goes.
I received incredible help over my years with horses. As a young girl, Mark Reyner taught me it’s not what horse you ride, it’s how you ride the horse you’re given. Bob Clark taught me how many pounds of hay my horse needed every day. Mike Craig opened the doors to Monte Foreman and training a horse with timing, feel and kindness. Donna Brock showed me what to look for in a quality saddle and the Kit Carson Riding Club acted as a village. As a group they tamed my wildness and pointed me towards responsible horsemanship. They never did get me to comb my hair though.
I learned from my friends too. Karen showed me how to ride a pleasure horse and which side of the hill to dismount on during a NATRC trail ride. Linda made me bold. Lauren let me know what determination was all about and the Jenson sisters created an ache for perfection.
I learned from the darker side of the horse world too. I was sold bad hay, cheap saddles and given terrible advice. I learned to be cautious and to pay attention. I learned to sniff out the least hint of mold. I learned to research.
All of these lessons prepared me for the day I waded into the world of professional horse training . Because of the help I received I was more than ready to begin absorbing the wealth of information in front of me.
I’m can’t begin to cover all of the help and practical knowledge I received as a young rider. The idea of playing it forward in the safe environment of a solid riding club with great credentials is pretty appealing. I’m looking forward to meeting some new members of the horse world. Yip!
Now I have a question for the mugwump bloggers. If you were brand spanking new in the horse world, what would you want to know? I’d love some fresh ideas for these clinics. I’m going to be running many of them and would love some fresh ideas. What solid, practical advice would you like to receive or wish you had gotten when you first started with horses?
We are hoping these free clinics will spread between the area riding clubs. Any ideas you have to add would be appreciated.