The highly educated senior horse: the Professor
Highly educated older horses are called “Professors“. These very experienced horses have a lot of education to pass on to the rider: all exercises from circle to piaffe, the corresponding aids, you can learn artificial balance, you can develop an independent seat and many more.
Traditionally young riders learned from old and experienced horses under the guidance of an ‘old’ riding master, and young horses were educated by experienced riders.
Here you see me with the 16 year old horse called Mantra. Mantra is very good in teaching young children to ride correctly and to feel the end result of dressage: artificial balance.
And Mantra is not just a very good horse….. he is magnificent, he is a master of the school, he is wise and he is completely confident and safe.
It´s the best what a young rider can get: a school master to learn. How some of us wish we had had that kind of opportunity at the age of 8,9,10,11….. and even now at age 30-40-50!
Novice horses with young horses
Nowadays we also see combinations of inexperienced ‘green’ horses with novice and ‘green’ riders. Therefore the education of rider and horse often lasts much longer as before. It can also be accompanied with problems, because a younger horse might get confused and upset at a new rider’s mistakes.
Reasons why we see novice riders and young horses are:
- ancient times and the traditions of the past are unreachable for most riders
- people wants to buy a young horse so their child can grow up with him
- people think the older horse is used-up
Novice riders with senior horses
But an older horse is always the better match for a novice rider, because he is wise, confident and patient. And he has an excellent understanding of the movements required and is sympathetic to the learning rider’s mistakes. He is even willing to offer correct responses for relatively correct aids.
So seniors are not used-up, they have a lot to offer! And with straightness training, the rider and his senior can continue to have many successful rides together.
Straightness training has many students with horses between 20 and 30 years old and many of those seniors are still being ridden!
If you keep your educated horse in shape and exercise him regularly, you’ll have many more productive years together than if you let him get overweight and lose muscle mass.