This year’s event featured four female horse trainers competing for the colt starting championship. It was outstanding.
There have been female competitors in 2 previous years but this was the first time that it was exclusively female. The horses that they were presented with were, in my opinion, exceptionally challenging. The result was a remarkable opportunity to observe horses with very strong personalities and trainers with a unique range of styles.
I have already watched the DVD program several times and it is a challenge to see everything that is going on.
This year one of the competitors was professional show jumper with tack and methods never before seen at RTTH. When I first heard about this all kinds of questions went through my fuzzy old head. As I should have known, horsemanship is horsemanship no matter how you dress it up.
Just to add another dimension to the event, one of these ladies dislocated her shoulder near the end of the first round-pen session. For most people, this would have been the end but, not so. After a few minutes to put the shoulder back in this lady resumed the session and then went on to complete the event. That is the picture of courage, determination and strength.
For students of horses and horsemanship this an event you should not miss. It is an educational opportunity that is truly priceless. You will see some of the best examples of building trust in horses with high levels of sensitivity (skepticism and fear). For me personally it reinforced the importance of using my voice to communicate with and build trust with a horse.
Almost every horse training/trainer I have encountered has insisted that one should not talk to their horse. They always insist that horses don’t understand English or any other language for that matter. The fact is that horses can learn what simple words mean and they can learn to respond with their voice. I discovered this by accident. I always said ‘thank you’ to my horse when he did something for me. Then I noticed that when I did something for him he would respond with a soft two beat knicker, his way of duplicating my ‘Thank you’. Horses and animals are capable of learning to respond to humans in many different ways.
I learned early on that horses respond to the smallest cues once they understand what is wanted. I learned that the smallest signal with one finger can have my horse respond quickly and correctly. If you watch closely in this video you will see several examples of these very same finger cues.
Don’t miss the chance to watch this event and remember the 2018 event is coming up in a few weeks.