Xenophon was a 4th Century BC Greek cavalry officer and armed service hero, college student of Socrates, historian, writer, and specialist on horsemanship – a person of several abilities. His horsemanship writings addressed the proper treatment of the horse, how to select a horse, and the teaching of the war horse.
I you should not suggest that his writings on horsemanship be necessary reading for the horse lover, but you can uncover many nuggets of stable and essential advice therein. We can relate a lot more to what Pat Parelli, John Lyons, Cherry Hill, Buck Brannamen, Ray Hunt or other present-day trainers have to say. But Parelli, Lyons and the other individuals will certainly give a tip of their hats to Xenophon and admit the debt owed to him by all who have followed him.
What makes Xenophon’s work so special and timeless? If very little else it can be due to the fact what he experienced to say is constructed on his really like for the horse and his sturdy perception that the horse’s intellect in lots of techniques parallels the human head. You can choose Xenophon’s teachings and distill them into a couple of “commandments” which, if you keep them in brain will just take you a extended approaches in performing with a horse
Temperament – A essential basic principle of his instructing is “never ever present anger to the horse”. If we can continue to keep that in mind we keep away from many of the issues with horses which we in truth generally convey on ourselves.
Our youngest Fjord gelding, Lars, is a excellent animal who has a stubborn streak (Norwegian track record I guess). I locate myself smiling at him by way of clenched enamel on celebration and have acquired that anger on my aspect both produces zero results or simply can make a touchy circumstance worse. Anger does not perform, nor does drive. Xenophon taught that horses, like folks, reply improperly to pressure. We will do points when compelled, but not always do those people points very well – at most effective more than enough to “get by”. A horse doing a little something below pressure does so with no knowing and it is fundamental in instructing the horse that the horse understands.
The use of force is almost constantly counterproductive when the horse is in a problem in which it is afraid of something. If the horse is worried of an object, these kinds of as a mailbox by the side of a highway ( been through that a person), you need to have to possibly stay clear of the object or bit by bit get the job done the horse in closer proximity to it. Anger, force or punishment will only fortify the horse’s fear. It now associates the bad things you are performing with the object, compounding its fear. We understand this when to start with positioning a bridle on a horse. Seeking to pressure it on the horse only helps make it that a great deal more tricky the next time.
Have confidence in and Treatment – Xenophon insists that a horse be perfectly cared for which includes foods, grooming, right and cleanse quarters, and consideration. Although it was the personalized back in his time that schooling be performed by a groom, Xenophon insisted that the owner go to the horse everyday to ensure it really is welfare and as a indicates of constructing trust for the time when operator and horse will develop into “companions”.
My most loved riding horse arrives to me instead of working away when she sees the halter in my hand. She associates the halter with grooming, a bit of grain, or exercising and maybe a very good journey. I do not have to chase her all over the pasture which would be the case I am positive if she obtained tough remedy. Even Lars comes to the halter, which usually means I have completed a fantastic occupation with anger management when he experiences a stubborn streak. We are in fact “companions”.
Driving – Xenophon taught that the horse should be mounted gradually and the rider should be able to do so from both facet. The horse must be encouraged to have it is really head thoroughly and once that is completed to progress with a free rein. To quote from Xenophon:
“If you instruct the horse to go with a slack bridle, to hold his neck up and to arch it towards the head, you will
trigger the horse to do the extremely items in which he himself delights and can take the finest enjoyment.
A evidence that he delights in them is that any time he himself chooses to show off right before horses, and in particular
in advance of mares, he raises his neck best and arches his head most,on the lookout fierce he lifts his legs freely off the ground and tosses his tail up.
Anytime, as a result, you induce him to carry himself in the attitudes he obviously assumes when he is most nervous to screen his splendor, you make him glimpse as although he took pleasure in getting ridden, and give him a noble, intense, and desirable visual appearance”.
Now Xenophon was largely introducing newbie horsemen to the invest in, treatment and coaching of the war horse. But with the exception of some “battlefield” schooling routines, approximately everything in The Artwork of Horsemanship applies to our relationship with horses in this working day and age. Xenophon assumed zero working experience on the portion of his viewers and, like a good teacher will do, seriously stressed the fundamentals.
If you are looking for a reserve, video clip or DVD on some facet of horsemanship or training and have the luxury of getting in a position to evaluation the product in advance, try to see wherever the creator is placing the foundation of his or her operate. Is there an underlying topic based mostly on a couple of basic rules or beliefs? You may definitely uncover this in something posted by Parelli, Lyons, or Hempfling to identify a few.
And if you want to discover the environment of Xenophon even more a number of resources are –
Lifestyle and Writings of Xenophon from The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy at
His function on the Artwork of Horsemanship is properly summed up at
For a scholarly translation of The Art of Horsemanship, sometimes hard to go through but published in terrific depth –