Thursday, February 16, 2012

Which thing in this picture is different?

(so don't get all sensitive)

I included this heading because this is a tough topic to talk about without someone feeling like these types of conversations"attack" beginner riders.  No one should ever "attack" a beginner rider, because we all were one at some point, and we should all remember that.  However, in my years of horse rescue and trying to pair good adoptive matches, I've found again and again that beginners are the hardest type of horse person to help out, and it frequently doesn't matter how nicely you try.  And despite owning horses for over 30 years, I'm still not quite sure why that is.

What confuses me the most about some riders is the apparent inability to recognize when one thing does not look like the other things they are seeing.

I'm the first to admit I'm not a very good rider and lord knows I'm not a confident rider.  I've been riding near my whole life and I still place myself as a lower level intermediate rider.  I take lessons every week.  I will need lessons until the day I die, and even then I'm sure I'll still suck.  I am watching and learning from everyone around me, ALWAYS.  Sometimes that watching is because I see someone doing something that for me is hard, but for them looks effortless.  That's something I want to learn, so I study them and ask questions. Sometimes I learn because I see someone do something I don't ever want to do, so I make a note of that, too. I've always done this and I don't think I will ever stop doing this.  I'm not sure I could if I tried.

So, that being said, why does it seem like so many beginners fail to look around and recognize when one thing in the picture is different? 

If your saddle looks like this sitting on your horse:           

But all your friends saddles look like this sitting on their horses...     Don't you wonder why?  Wouldn't you ask once you noticed that more than a couple saddles didn't fit like yours? 

And, if you go riding in a group and everyone else looks like these folks on their horses:

But you look like this... 

or this......
Don't you wonder why?  And wouldn't you want to try to fix it?  The same thing if you take a short canter with your trail buddies, and they are sitting deep and secure in their saddles looking nice and relaxed, while you fly all about your mount slamming up and down and narrowly escaping death with every stride... ---------------------->

Wouldn't you begin to notice that one thing here is not like the other?  And wouldn't, naturally, you want to find out WHY?

This isn't about giving anyone advice.  It's about why some people fail to look around and NOTICE.  If my horse looks like a hairy Yak, and yours gleams like a shiny new penny...  I'm going to ask you WHY, or at least HOW yours looks different than mine.

So, for discussion... is the issue that beginners don't know what they should be noticing, or is it that they simply truly do not recognize the one thing that is different?  And how do we get that to change?

I'm assuming part of this phenomenon is how one person sees this:
When the reality is this:
And, just for fun, some guys think they look like this:

 And we're all wincing because we see this:


  1. I think it's the same reason that little kids don't see the mess in their room until Mom or Dad inspects it. It's all trial and error--beginners are able to recognize what looks good but not pick out the details of what's bad until they're corrected. That's my theory anyway.

  2. The problem arises when people think they know all there is to know. But not one of the best instructors I've had has ever thought that--so if the instructor has room to learn, doesn't everyone?

  3. Informative...and those last pictures...LOL!

  4. I'm a beginner, (my friends say I'm intermediate ... I say they're crazy, I'ma beginner!) and I know one issue I have is that I CAN'T see how I look, so I always ask my teacher/coworkers/etc. "how's it supposed to feel?" which isn't the easiest question to answer I presume.

    My current clutch is I'm getting petrified of the canter because one horse I rode was excited to finally be out, and my reins got caught, so I was just on for the ride. I'm sure it wasn't that bad, given that my teacher was calm and I was screaming bloody mary on the inside. Point is, I know what it's supposed to look like and I know "in theory", but I dont know how I look doing anything. And because I dont know what's really right, I dont know how it's supposed to feel. Folks see the advanced riders show examples, and in our minds, we look like them even though reality may be/probably is VERY different. I finally saw how I looked riding and, though it was dark, I can say I'm none to pleased (I'm my own harsh critic)! As for the saddle fitting and cantering pics... can't help you there.

    BTW... LOVE the last one! :D I hope I didn't completely miss the point of this blog!