There are three ways that we, as riders, learn our horsemanship.
We must have THEORY. We find it in the books and articles from masters of old and in the writings of modern horsemen and women. With theory, we can visualize and conceptualize the principles we work to master as riders. Theory is all about the thinking mind and its connection to the ideals that resonate with one’s own ethics and relationship with horses.
We must have DIRECTION. We need the “eyes on the ground” from an instructor, clinician and/or judge to bring the dynamic perspective of observation – even mirrors in the arena or video taping of our rides can provide the practical means to find positive direction.
And we need PRACTICE. The riding itself, allowing the horse to be our supreme teacher, is an ongoing requirement for progress.
Without practice, theory has no innate value. Without theory and direction, our practice can run off the rails of balanced, connected communication. The combination of these valuable aspects will keep us in rapport with our horses and help us avoid confusion.