The kick and pull lessons given to children or adults is not how to start them out on a horse. Usually beginners are put on a horse with no preparation. The reason you don't want to start like this is that it causes the beginner to feel that it is the job of the horse to please them.
Basically we are creating a thoughtless culture where just our own needs are being met. Approaching riding lessons in this manner makes slaves out of the horses and people who feel no allegiance to what the horse is feeling.
Children and adults need to work on a farm for a while getting to know the horse from the ground - spending time with the horse, Sharing Territory in the same way all animals in a farm get to know each another and in the way bonds are formed. Riding a horse should be a privilege not a right.
One need to know a horse well enough to be aware of the daily feelings of a horse; maybe the horse does not feel like being ridden, maybe your teacher does not know their own horse well enough, maybe the horse should never be ridden, maybe it is alright to ride the horse for only 10 minutes at a walk. A lot of "maybes" need to be considered to be a person that is as much a caretaker of the horse as they are to themselves.
If your child only knows the kick and pull version of horse riding your child is not learning how to develop relationships in life. Life is about knowing how to make connections and develop flexible thinking to see their needs and the needs of others. The first experience riding a horse makes a big difference to the rest of your life in how successfully connected you are to a horse.
I was started out the best way possible. Strawberry and I knew each other from a bond we had formed from the ground and all the work I did to take care of him. My Dad put me on Strawberry because he was a horse that would take care of me. If I lost my seat he would do anything in his power to save me from a fall. This caused me to be a confident rider. My Dad showed me how to ask him to go forward, stop and turn him. It was a lesson with subtle aids. I was to think forward and let my seat urge Strawberry forward and then relax and then Strawberry would go. Then he said, "that is all there is to riding". Well that felt really good. I got that accomplished in the first lesson so I felt like a natural.
This is the first thing you want a student to feel when taking their first lesson. After my 5 minute lesson he told me to do what I wanted to do and left me alone as he watched from a distance. I was three and I was glad my lesson was over so I could ride on my own with the wind in my hair at a walk. I was enthusiastic. I wanted to stay on the back of Strawberry for as long as possible. I still remember everything about that day. There was no kicking or pulling. I must say that riding a broomstick I was very aggressive from watching cowboys in the movies, but because Strawberry and I were bonded it never occurred to me to ride him like he was a wooden stick with no heart or soul.
Horseback riding should start out with allot of understanding and connection with the particular horse that you are going to be taking a lesson on. There should be lots of time to bond, like holding a rope while the horse grazes on delicious grass. This is a good way for a new person to get connected to their horse. When kicking and pulling are suggested this means that you are not ready, you do not have enough knowledge to be on that horse.
Have a great weekend! Be on the lookout for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.
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