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Old 10-17-2009, 04:05 PM
 
2 posts, read 3,674 times
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We have our ranch for sale and have been to the Durango area in search of a horse property and we LOVED it there. A friend has suggested though that we would find more horse people and horse things to do near Steamboat.

What is the best place to live in CO to be near other modern horse riders (meaning those who like natural horsemanship, as we do)?

We are getting very serious about moving to Durango so we'd appreciate this group's great insight and suggestions. Thanks!
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Old 10-17-2009, 04:41 PM
 
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All my training in natural horsemanship has been with instructors on the Front Range of Colorado.

In my experience, that's where the largest concentration of recreational riders who are interested in these techniques are located.

When you get into the areas where horses were/are used for working cattle or other ranch work, you'll find a lot of the attitude "that's how we've done it" for generations, and a lot of resistance to the "natural" riding. I also see a lot of the "attitude" up here in Wyoming with folks that are used to using a lot of force with their horses instead of trying for a "partnership and harmony".

I get a lot of negative comments about riding only with a soft halter, no spurs, no cruppers, no head restraints, and a simple 12' lead rope that I've put a ring in one end and a "be safe" snap in the other so that I can fasten it as a one-piece rein at the fiador knot. Yes, I tie my own "natural horsemanship" tack ... lead ropes, halters, and strings, and have made a lot for other folks on the natural path. People who don't know about natural techniques are always ribbing me about how much "stopping power" I don't have with the soft halter compared to their big ported bits ... what they refuse to understand is that I don't need that bit to ride my horses ... or theirs, as I've proven on a number of trail rides.

In perspective, I'm a beginner rider compared to a lot of these old timers around here. But the "natural" way made sense to me and got me able to ride the trails when the conventional trainers could not.
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:27 AM
 
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Default natural horsemanship in CO

Thanks so much, SunSpirit. I am just like you -- I ride my former bucking horse in just a halter and regularly give him cookies for doing what I ask on the trail, like giving me great lateral bends. I am so tired of people actually being offended by that.

Well I am offended by riders with HUGE shank bits, nasty spurs they have no idea how to use as well as tie downs. Some folks are more comfortable watching riders inflict pain on their horses than they are in seeing me treat mine with compassion.

I was seriously hoping for more open mindedness if we move to Durango. It is so close to Parelli country!
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
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Ummm John Lyons is in Parachute CO

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You also might contact Backcountry Horsemen
Back Country Horsemen of Colorado

I rode Dressage for years and our mentor was Jean-Claude Racinet who's "Riding in Lightness" is very similar to the natural horsemanship. Several of my fav quotes were "yah don't play piano with gloves so why would you wear them riding" and "whoa doesn't come from the reins it comes from the seat"...I could ride my big 17.2 hand 1800Lbs guy with a loose ring double jointed snaffle (very mild bit) without problems at all and no cranking in on it.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ReturningWest View Post
Ummm John Lyons is in Parachute CO

(snip)
Well, that's awfully convenient. Only about 240 miles away from the West Central location of Parachute to the SW Corner of Colorado where they parked Durango.

Even at that, what Lyons teaches and what the local prevailing riders do is two entirely different riding techniques.

PParelli is based in Colorado, too ... a lot closer to Durango than Lyons. But again, it's mostly the recreational riders who head to their facility for high dollar training that is their stock in trade, not the prevailing traditional riders of the area.

Oh, and FWIW ... if you're still riding with a bit, then you've totally missed the communication point of riding without one and using only a halter which is a key point of "natural" horsemanship, no matter how light that bit is in action and how light you think your hands are. The proof of the riding is to not use a bit ... I've watched more than one traditional rider break down at the prospect of being on their ole' favorite horse without having that bit. It's quite a revelation when they discover that they actually can ride their horse without it, but it's a whole new channel of communication that they have to establish with their horse, naturally.
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 10,796,190 times
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No I'm no longer riding but I didn't miss the point, in Dressage competition you must ride with a bit and mine was quite mild...I suggest you google Jean-Claude Racinet and see what I'm talking about. I could have ridden without a bit but I did compete. I could drop the reins and ride walk trot canter without picking them up, I could go out into the pasture thow on a halter and ride my horse in. There are many "natural horsemanship guru's" and they all have something to offer. However, I do get offended when someone thinks their way is the only right or better way.
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:38 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,086,388 times
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RW ... I certainly wouldn't disparage the training and methods of JC Racinet, and I'm happy that you found riding pleasure following his teachings.

But what he taught wasn't then or now what would be considered "natural horsemanship" by the current group of prominent trainers in the biz for trail riders (which is what the OP claims to be, not a dressage rider), although key elements of riding are fundamental to all horsemanship. We're all still dealing with a horse ....

FWIW, I've watched my "natural" instructor, formerly a Parelli instructor, and before that one of Canada's top dressage trainers to olympic level riders, head out into the arena and do all of the dressage stuff and jumping with just a halter. I've seen her do this stuff on a trail ride, just to show that she had that level of communication with her horse(s) to folks who couldn't understand how much control she had at all times. I've watched her piaff up a narrow steep mountain trail, and then down that trail, too. The horse was definitely not "on" or "off" a bit, because there wasn't a bit used, but head position was absolutely elegant and correct by dressage standards. And I've seen her demonstrate "at liberty" control of her horses (and those of students that she was demonstrating the techniques) in everyplace from a large round pen to a 50' x 100' corral to an open 50 acre pasture. No bit, no lead rope, just her body language signals to the horse ... again, I'd suggest to you that these natural fundamentals bear nothing in common with what you're doing with a bit from the saddle in dressage riding, or at the end of that line with a whip in your hand that so many dressage riders seem to favor as a training tool for endless circles of the horse.

Anyway, my point remains. Anytime you've got a bit in the horse's mouth, you're using that as the primary tool to communicate, and that's where modern "natural horsemanship" and old time French horsemanship (such as taught by JCR) part company. A wonderful analysis of bits/bitting, with virtually every bit in the business, is to be found on-line at ::: Sustainable Dressage - - Welcome to my Site about Sustainable Dressage! ::: in their tack room information section.

Nowhere did I intend to offend your superb rider skills, but what you're going after as a dressage rider doesn't really have much in common with the needs of a recreational trail rider, such as the OP. Having had the personal experience of taking one of the top three ranked Morgan dressage horses (and top jumper, as well as driving horse nat'l #1 one year in his competition years) from national competition after retirement and a few years of idleness, then re-cycling him as a trail horse in Colorado ... I know full well that my push-button arena horse needed a lot of retraining to deal with the realities of the trail. In a bit, with conventional riding techniques, he was a very unhappy camper on the trail ... with "natural" techniques (Parelli training for me), he was a superb trail horse until his passing at age 26. I had the honor of riding him for over 12 years, and he was an enthusiastic partner, willing and capable to go long distances with a heavy load (me and pack saddles/gear) over difficult terrain ... a very far cry from the demands of the show ring.

When I first bought him, I'd taken him to a number of regular trainers in the area, and several worked with him for a couple of weeks and told me that I should just put the horse back out to retirement, or put him down. My horse "blew up" so badly on a trail training ride with one of the Denver area top western trainers that the fellow put the horse in a neighbors pasture and walked 3 miles home to get a trailer to bring my horse back home. In my frustration to connect with my horse, I tried a parelli clinic. Three days with my first parelli clinic and I was riding him comfortably on the trails .... Not tauting parelli here, there's lots of similar good natural programs and teachers in the biz. But what you'll find in common with all of them is not using a bit. A further point of perspective: he was my first horse so I wasn't working from a profound level of horse lore and knowledge; I'd still rate myself as a beginning rider.

Last edited by sunsprit; 10-23-2009 at 10:27 AM..
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