Mentors and Stewards By Aaron Ralston
Aaron Ralston Bridleless Slide
I recently finished the shooting of my first official training DVD’s, “The Evolution Series,” that I am very excited about. However, I have been very reluctant throughout the project to put out my program without being able to have hands on assistance with the application. I have always believed that the equipment and exercises are secondary to the application and interaction. I have a program that has adopted many things from successful horse people and I believe also has many unique qualities that are of my creation. Throughout my travels, I have seen the same results from a great variety of approaches, but the commonality between all has been the ability to balance the stress and recovery as well as the processing time that our horses need. This is one of the qualities that I focused on as I transferred the experiences I have had into DVD lesson form.
The ability to self monitor yourself is very valuable to those riders who do not have the opportunity to ride with someone knowledgeable enough to help them. Having the proper mentoring and accountability is the first investment all aspiring riders should have. Had it not been for the right people giving me the right advice at the right time, I don’t know where I’d be. The “Evolution Series” has been developed to systematically teach you and your horse as well as give you the tools and awareness to self monitor your progress in order to help you balance when and how much stress and recovery to apply. The program also gives you and me the same language so we can communicate and have a mentor relationship from miles away.
Once we have our self monitoring system in place we can become the steward our horses need and deserve. Notice I did not use the term partner. I believe that a partnership is when two parties willfully and independently join together for a common enterprise. We spend a lifetime continually convincing the horse that we aren’t going to eat them. In my mind, I think of the term stewardship. Today’s horses were created either for our recreational enjoyment or to accomplish a job that produces a product for humans. Even the wild mustangs are descendants of saddle horses that escaped or have been turned loose. Therefore, I also stay as far away from the term Natural, as I can. I support, believe and use the “approach” that the Dorrance brothers, Ray Hunt and horsemen such as, Joe Wolters, Randy Reiman, and Buck Branaman have made popular. It is our responsibility to steward our horses and make their existence in “our” world as pleasant as possible. They may not know it, but most of our horses live a pretty good life! Most horses I know get better care than some children, and they both have the same parents! “The Evolution Series” is my way of starting a clear path of teaching our horses the foundation that they will need to better perform and understand what is to be expected of them for the rest of their lives.
As published in Horse Digest magazine – July 2011