In his first article for EWW, Human Performance Coach, Jon Pitts discusses his approach to training and how he aims to challenge traditions and bring a fresh approach to horse and rider safety, whilst increasing your confidence and enjoyment of riding.
‘Many years ago I was asked to look at helping firstly jockeys and then a wider scope of riders look at how they could become better. This involved a journey, (to date): a lot of early mornings, many miles, 2 Olympic Games representing two different nations and working with some of the world’s best. It’s safe to say I knew nothing about horses when I started and I’m not a prolific rider; but I have learnt a fair bit over the last 10 years. I’m very privileged to have been exposed to how the best riders and coaches work, but I’ve always looked at the sport as an outsider and having worked at the elite end of many other sports too, I have a unique viewpoint on riding.
So why am I frustrated? Well, because despite many top riders endorsing what I do, together with a track record for producing riders from potential through to international representation, I still battle the most entrenched, traditional and frankly narrow-minded opinions about how to ride well, along with so many misconceptions. For instance; I don’t only work with elite riders, everyone has their aims and targets be it competition or enjoyment, I want to help anyone who wants to get better, and more importantly, I’m passionate about everyone riding in a safer and more confident way.
Einstein’s definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over again and expecting to get different results”, yet I see this time and again in equestrian pursuits. Riders cling to what they know because it gets them through and the teaching industry is something that I frankly scratch my head at. How many times have you been for a lesson, only to then not be able to repeat the good work you managed in the lesson itself at home? How can that be right? And whose fault is it, yours or the teacher? It’s a teaching FAIL!
And do you know the best thing? It’s really not that difficult, yet we seek to try and mystify and complicate it. That’s why I’ve launched RideSmart: so many people have started the RideSmart journey only to remark how “simple and obvious” it is and wonder why they’ve not done it before. I guess it’s difficult to see when you’re immersed in it, but having worked out what makes the best so good, and then seeing that how we teach riding is a TOTALLY different thing, how most go about it just seems so illogical to me.
We spend so much time training the horse and yet the logical place to start for me is the rider. If the rider is correct, THEN it must be the horse that isn’t, yet we don’t do that. Why? The human body is not symmetrical and yet we continue to try and make it work in that way. Why? In response to increased risk your brain is quite capable of lying to you, altering your perception and over-riding your conscious thought, so when you think you’re doing something, you might not actually be doing what you think. None of this is rocket science but it does take looking at riding from a different angle.
If you’re reading this and you feel that you might have reached a confusing plateau in your riding which is stopping you moving forward and getting the result you want, or that frankly there are times when you don’t want to ride because your confidence is low, or you are getting frustrated with yourself and your horse, PLEASE get in touch.
If you’re working on something and it’s not getting better, try something different, try RideSmart. All we need is for you to bring an open mind; I can honestly say that in the many 1000’s of times that I’ve worked with a rider and their horse, it’s never failed to help.
I want everyone to benefit from this because I want you to meet the challenge of riding a live animal with the right tools and a clear plan, then you’ll progress, enjoy it and most importantly stay safe. Change your mindset; explore the new, innovative ways that can help you, rather than banging your head against a brick wall. Help me change these entrenched views; you really can become the rider you want to be. Plus you’ll help manage my frustration!’
If you are interested in finding out more about RideSmart carry on reading! In his next instalment Jon will introduce a quick and easy exercise that will help you begin to understand more about his training techniques.
What is Ridesmart?
RideSmart is a new way of getting the most out of you and your horse. It considers the traditional methods of training horses but looks outside of the box and introduces a new, better way to form a partnership with your horse. Developed by human performance expert Jon Pitts, it takes into account new scientific research into what makes an elite rider, and delivers this information in an innovative, clear and easy to understand way. Those who have tried RideSmart, have discovered a better, safer and more confident way to enjoy life with their horses.