Is there any such thing as a non-training ride? By Don Jessop
I wish I could say yes, there is such a thing as a non-training ride, but the truth is simple, if you are riding, even interacting in any way with your horse, you are training. Your horse is always learning something from you. Always.
Some interactions are less demanding than others, such as trail rides. But all interactions teach the horse about you, about what you want, about what you'll tolerate and allow, about what you will and won't correct. This is why it's hard to pass horses from one rider to the next. Any advanced rider knows that a horse is constantly learning. Therefore, a poor rider will, in a very short time, diminish the quality of the horses responses.
Imagine riding down the trail and you feel your horse begin to hesitate. He doesn't want to go forward anymore because there is a big black stump parked just off the trail. A masterful rider, will allow the horse a moment to check it out, but when it's time to move on, will not allow sticky, non-responsive behavior, even though the horse is in fact, acting very sticky and non-responsive. A poor rider will allow the horse to remain sticky and non-responsive, therefore training the horse to what the human will and won't allow. A masterful rider will ask for simple movements, even one simple step forward or to the side, but demand high quality responses and then... reward heavily. A poor rider will ask for little, allow poor responses, and remain reactive to the situation.
Quality responses are important. This, and many other reasons, such as alignment, balance, energy management and more, are why we encourage you to take the path to mastery. We want you to be as good with horses as the people that have inspired you throughout your life. Take a look at the Mastery Courses below: