Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Let's Start At The Beginning (of The 2023 Year) With Foundation Training


Body Control, Foundation Training, Safety Training

Putting basic training on a horse has been around forever. A smart somebody was thinking!  (Though not all horses receive it. :() The ability as a rider to be able to move any of the horse's body parts around through cues. It's not only important for the horse but it's very important for the rider including safety. It's communication. It's your car's emergency brake, first aid kits, engine tune up, brand new tires, etc.. You have a sense of calm in the pit of your stomach knowing you've got everything covered should a blow out happen.  Our horses are a joy - a stress relief. Who wants to screw that up but not having a well trained horse? Oh gosh, the things I've seen...

Its what my horse training business was all about. I used to have students come for lessons on safety. To be able to ride their horse (primarily on the trail) knowing that they had some skills they could use in case things went awry. Not only that, its also such a JOY to ride a horse that you assuredly know you could communicate to and take control in case a bear or scary ATV showed up.

According to Bob Avila, 2 time World's Greatest Horseman Champion, multiple Hall of Fame inductee (and too many other wonderful accolades to mention) but certainly one of my mentors:  "No matter what your training goal, inside or outside the show ring, body control isn't a big thing. It's everything. When you can isolate and control all the individual parts of your horse's body, you have a horse that's really, really broke." --Bob Avila ."

Being in the show pen doesn't need the rider to have basic foundation skills on their horse for safety. (I hope not. The horse should be well trained by then. That's another story). But they do need the foundation training in conjunction with those advanced training skills to expertly perform whatever it is they're demonstrating in the show pen.

A Rose by any Other Name Would Smell Just as Sweet

Another common names: 
1. Putting A 'handle' on a horse
 2.  'the basics'  
 3.  basic horse training 
  4. foundation training
  5. body control,
  6. And I'm going to say basic safety training.

My Definition of Body Control 
Foundation training is the term used to describe the type of basic training that is put on a horse after the horse has been started under saddle and before the horse is then finished in a specialty.

Body control is a more elaborate and detailed version of this foundation training where the horse is taught to move all their body parts via cues. The training goes into a lot more detail, with a lot more exercises to get a horse really trained in the basics.

Western performance horses development is a term that maybe used for this type of body control foundation training. And of course, it exists in the other horse disciplines as well though I can't speak on their behalf as I have no knowledge in that area.

A Quick Check:
Is the pit of your stomach telling you that things are good, that you have an emergency plan OR does the pit of your stomach feel like it's tied in knots, a little 'oogy' then I'd be checking your basic training or looking into that car engine light if I were you. 

Gosh, I really miss putting that foundation body control training on horses. You can see from the photo, that the last time I did that was 2 years ago when I was 60. And I'm glad now that in my 60's, I'm still riding my good ole mare Jackie, who had the foundation training in 2003 - 20 years ago!

I'll be doing more articles on this as the year progresses. The Year of the Rabbit. The Year of the Basic Horse Skills.
My 15th year writing for TheRider Magazine. Thanks Barry Finn.

Questions and comments are always welcome.
Putting my spin on Body Control Foundation training or western performance horse development. 
Reinersue - Celebrating 15 years writing for magazine.  Thanks Barry!
©Copyright KISS Reiners 2023

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