“Horsemanship and life are lessons in lightness. You can get serious results without being so serious.” Karen Rohlf, Author and Equestrian
If you are in between trainers as I am at the moment, allow me to introduce you to my virtual YouTube trainers. There are many to choose from, and after much deliberation I have stuck with these three based on their heart for their horses, their years of experience and also because they always look for a laugh. I got into riding because it was fun and I try to keep it that way, despite the many setbacks and surprises that arise.
Karen Rohlf of Dressage Naturally is an accomplished rider but she also loves to simply play around with her horses with various horse toys and obstacle courses. She will often interrupt her teaching videos to put the camera on her cute dog rolling around in the grass, just to lighten the mood. Sometimes that’s necessary when you’re on information overload.
In a recent video Natasha Althoff, of Your Riding Success, laughed at the crow-hopping, side-stepping and head-tossing of the mare she was riding, while effortlessly bringing her back under control and instructing us how to do the same. I know I need to laugh more when my Sportie acts up instead of grinding my teeth, which is my go-to reaction. If my jaw is tense so is the rest of me, and what purpose does that serve?
Rick Gore with Think Like a Horse has the best heart-felt belly laugh! The first video I saw of him was when he showed how horses may act up if not warmed up properly, especially that first ride after a cold winter. His horse Buddy performed as badly as predicted, throwing a buck and a rear to top it off, and Rick calmly laughed it off, sat it out and then humanely corrected him. Bucks and rears are my biggest worries and to see someone handle it like it’s another day at the office was inspiring and reassuring to me.
There are a few things with each of these trainers, as with all trainers, that I might not agree with, but overall getting to watch what they have to teach has strengthened my riding confidence tremendously, along with my sense of humor.