- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 5 hours and 30 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Keith Hosman
- Audible.com Release Date: March 25, 2016
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01DE98HTO
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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What I'd Teach Your Horse: Training & Re-Training the Basics: Horse Training How-To, Volume 8 Audiobook – Unabridged
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When I was reading Keith Hosman’s What I’d Teach Your Horse, I thought of that cookbook. Hosman’s book is a dense collection of very clear directions about how to do things with your horse that you probably never thought you could. I found this challenging reading, though it’s clear, well-written and fully explains Mr. Hosman’s techniques. The challenging part was that it describes a level of horsemanship and training that I could barely imagine. It also got me thinking about a bunch of things, which I'll touch on below.
I began riding horses in 1955 and rode with some top trainers, back in the day. That was then; this is now. The new horsemanship is a whole new level of sophistication and training techniques. Hosman describes an exercise where the rider sits on his/her horse and imagines each of the horse’s hooves planted in the center of a clock, the face marked 1 to 12 in a circle in typical clock fashion. The rider teaches, through carefully explained steps, the horse to put each of its feet on each number of the clock. This has a number of training benefits.
The rest of the book relies on similar exercises. I can’t imagine that level of training subtlety, yet I’ve been to seminars given my top trainers where they demonstrated similar feats. The book is full of things like this which sound promise to produce a horse whose training level is beyond anything I’ve experienced.
Midway through, I began to feel discouraged. “I can never do that. I’m so bunged up physically (I’m 70), I can’t even ride for more than twenty minutes.” A thread of hope runs through this book, though. Just when I felt like what Mr. Hosman was saying was a really good idea that I would never be able to actualize, that famous skit from Saturday Night Live came to me. “Lowered Expectations,” about a dating service for regular people, as opposed to the supermodels usually pictured on dating sites. The opening credits of the skit show an exceptionally appearance-challenged couple walking on a littered path by a polluted river.
“Lowered expectations!” thought I. “Baby steps.” I didn’t have to learn all that and apply it perfectly. "Just try a few things. Go slowly.”
I loved a couple of things he brings up, like talking to your horse and telling it what to do. I do that all the time; horses are very good listeners on all sorts of things. I also loved his technique of visualizing your horse doing the right thing on the first try. That visualization technique won me lots of ribbons when I was a kid. I'd be going to sleep and imagine my horse and myself doing a stock horse routine. Piece of cake at the show the next day.
This book piqued a fascination for Mr. Hosman’s work. I want to check out his seminar schedule. I highly recommend this book to my fellow horse people. As I worked my way through it, I thought, “This is hard. This is relearning everything I do automatically, but the result seems like it will be better all the way around.”
I thought about why people want to do things better, with their horses, and in life. We have a responsibility, those of us who love horses, to do our best by them and give them the best lives possible. We also have a responsibility to do the best by the other creatures on this planet, the Earth itself, and our fellow human beings. And ourselves. So we learn new techniques in hopes of improving our riding and maybe improving this planet. That’s as worthwhile as it gets. Keith Hosman’s book definitely moves in that direction.
I had a few “I wish he’d write about…” thoughts come up while reading this book. First, I’d like to see more about gaited horses and using the techniques in this book with them. We’ve had Peruvian Paso horses since the 1980s. The saddest thing I’ve seen is a new person who buys a Peruvian Paso horse, puts it with a Western trainer and then enters it in a Western Pleasure class at a Peruvian show. Invariably these horses, trained to hold their heads between their knees, come in last. Their owners and trainers don’t know they’re violated the breed standard. There’s got to me a way of incorporating the techniques shown here with gaited horses that won’t get them laughed out of a show arena.
Also, I’d like to see a book, or something––audio, video––for handicapped riders. My physical condition––I’m 70 and falling apart––limits me. I’m still riding, and I want to ride as long as I can. But how? And how to be super safe so I don't go Splat!? How can I use these techniques with my limitations? New book, please. Maybe a workshop. :-)
That’s my wish list, Mr. Hosman. Reading this book was a great experience. I was delighted to hear that there’s an audio version. The information in the book would be even more useful if you could sit on your horse and leaf through the exercises, having a narrator explain the steps. It is a doing book, a cookbook. Keith gifted me a copy of this book in return for an honest review. This is it!