…so much more than the BHS ever taught me!

I have been riding since the age of 4 and have been around horses my whole life. I passed my BHS Riding and Stable management courses in 2001 with a view to looking at becoming an instructor but found that the BHS model contradicted with what I was learning at that time through German-based dressage and Western methods whilst on holiday.

In 2004, I swapped dressage for polo and instantly fell in love with both the sport and the ponies.  And it was through polo that I initially met Jason in 2013.

I worked more closely with him in April 2015 at the polo club and that’s when he started teaching me about horse behaviour & psychology – the simplest of things that had never even been broached within my BHS training.  Everything he has taught me makes far more sense than some of the historic methods that the BHS teaches.  Just a few examples of what he has taught me would be things as simple but essential as:

  1. how a horse learns – not by pure repetition but by the release of pressure at the correct moment
  2. how to lead a horse “correctly” in the BHS style versus how to lead the horse safely for both horse and handler
  3. how to recognise that your horse has come off adrenaline and will perform better on the polo field by not being in flight mode

He also advised me on own fitness & nutrition (I’ve never had so much energy during and after a match), helped me reassess my hit & swing plus he helped me with the nutrition & general wellbeing of my ageing polo pony (then aged 25).  Considering that neither me nor my pony are spring chickens, we put in a remarkable performance through the whole of the 2015 season which led to younger female players telling me how much I inspired them!

I’d like to use the phrase that Jason often quotes – don’t do what everyone else is doing, do the opposite.  If you choose not to listen to the “standard establishment” blurb, you won’t regret it!

C Donnelly