A word 

Doubt, The Rider, and The Teacher 
By Bernard CHIRIS
" cheval-haute-ecole.com "  has reached cruising speed. More than20,000 people visit our site every month.  Thanks to all of the questions in your email, every two weeks I add a new subject in the FAQ section with the three most recent questions regarding problems encountered when riding. 

Also every two weeks, I renew the notes taken while giving lessons in my riding school.  Our study of “Passage” has concluded….  I am now preparing a study of the “Spanish Walk”, and have planned an exclusive interview with the Director and Chief Riding Master of the Portuguese School of Equestrian Arts, Doctor Filipe Graciosa, at the Montpellier Fair of the Horse.

Dear Riding Friends,

Here are a couple of my thoughts on a rather philosophic level…

Doubt, The Rider, and The Teacher
Riding horses showcases many traits of one’s personality: affectivity, intelligence, temperament, sensitivity, control, and knowledge of one’s body.  The personal involvement in riding is tremendous.

Difficulties arise from this unique type of relationship - a relationship between animal and man –two being that express themselves so differently, and yet so similarly.  Any relationship may blossom and generate enthusiasm and happiness.  In that same relationship, you may also experience doubt, disappointments, misunderstandings and sometimes bitterness.  You will go through these odd moments of doubt… you will feel untalented and have the impression that you cannot progress any further - even that you are regressing.

But is any of this of real importance?

I’ve asked myself this question many times when I’ve felt this doubt.  The failures, the half successes and all of the difficulties are part of the Journey.  The real issue is your personal exploration.  It’s the development of your sensitivity, the blossoming of a unique relationship between you and your horse, and the ability of the two of you to evolve into one harmonious unit.

The day I think I know everything is the day I will stop progressing.

It is actually what happens to many riders!  If your relationship with your horse and this Journey is your passion, then persevere.  Work. Doubt. Progress.  You might be lucky and find your personal happiness

…This search is what is worth it….
A good teacher can help you.

The teacher’s job is, before all else, to learn to perceive, and then to develop his student’s sensitivity and tact.  A good teacher does not teach “HIS” method.  He must only give his students the technical and theoretical knowledge necessary to develop and use their own sensitivity, and to pass on the love of - and respect for - the horse.

Unfortunately, many teachers - who are actually very skilled - only teach “methods” and “systems”.  They have a mechanical conception of horseback riding.  This is one of the reasons why so many riders stagnate or abandon horseback riding. 

To guide a rider, a teacher must have a thorough knowledge of what he teaches.  He must perceive what the students feel, and “feel” the state of mind of the horse.  To take on riding, even more so, riding lightly and with finesse, one must learn how to feel.

…Every horse is particular; every rider is different….

Of course, the ideal is to be able to ride finely trained horses.  Technique is certainly indispensable, but it is only a tool and not goal unto itself.

…A rider develops his sensitivity, his equestrian tact, all his or her life….

A rider who deserves this name is either an eternal student on a personal Journey or a teacher who shares his experiences and who is also on a personal Journey of his own.


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A Word

© Chiris 2006