Inspirational Horse Quotes
Horses for courses
There's nothing quite like a good quote from a knowledgeable individual who knows how to get their point across.
I will be continuously updating this collection of quotes as I find new ones. The quotes I have gathered already range from the ancient words of Xenephon (albeit in translation) to those of modern trainers of today such as Charles de Kunffy. One of my absolute favourite sources of quotes is Franz Mairinger's excellent book - Horses are made to be horses.
Are you ready to be inspired?
Quotes from Sally Swift
Sally Swift's influence on the horse world is vast. Not only has she given great assistance to many riders in person through her excellent teaching style, but by writing Centered Riding she has also given riders all over the world access to mental tools to help them even when they cannot get help from their own coach or trainer.
The key to why Sally Swift's work is so instrumental is not just because it is easy to read and implement, it is also because of her emphasis on encouraging riders to be self-aware whenever they are in the saddle. If the rider can feel exactly what their body is doing at all times, then they are much more likely to be able to correct it for themselves.
Here are just a few of my favourite quotes from Centered Riding by Sally Swift:
"Riding this way is like playing a finely tuned instrument, at times delicate, at other times powerful... The true artist can play with equal dexterity a soft ballad or a crashing march."
"Increased body awareness gives you a greater awareness of your inner self as well as your surroundings. Changing your habits will cultivate an ability to make clearer choices: A balanced body permits a balanced state of mind."
"Remember, the conversation between you and your horse must never be dull or inert. It should be, "Ask, receive, give. Ask, receive, give." Ask with your body and legs; receive through your body into your hands; give primarily with the hands, but also with your body and legs, so that you can ask all over again, receive again and give again. The give is your thanks. If you don't give, you must ask harder the next time, and even harder after that, until you end up with a dead or resistant horse."
Quotes from Franz Mairinger
One of my favourite books is Horses are made to be Horses by Franz Mairinger. The wisdom in its pages is invaluable, and I am so grateful for the work of his family, friends and students in putting this book together from his lectures and demonstrations.
Franz Mairinger was an instructor at the Spanish Riding School, and trained six Australian Olympic Eventing teams including the Gold Medal winning team that took on the world in 1960 at the Rome games.
It is difficult to select my favourite quotes, so I have included two that I am focussing on at the moment:
"Preserve his natural gaits. Preserve his personality. Preserve his instinct to go forward. Do this and you must be successful because you are respecting nature's wisdom."
"Theoretically, if we could sit perfectly and never move, we could break him in today and in six months he could do Grand Prix. It's hard to believe, but if we could sit still and never move, that's how quickly we could progress. But we do move, and we realise that we have moved. And at the same time as the movement, comes the realisation that we have lost the horse. That we have lost the flexion, that we have lost impulsion, that we have lost the type of movement that we were doing at the time. Concentrate on position; this is a most important thing. It is just common sense - you are the load and if you are not still then the horse cannot do it."
Here are some quote on the classical equestrian arts.
"For what the horse does under compulsion, as Simon also observes, is done without understanding; and there is no beauty in it either, any more than if one should whip and spur a dancer. There would be a great deal more ungracefulness than beauty in either a horse or a man that was so treated. No, he should show off all his finest and most brilliant performances willingly and at a mere sign."
"Equestrian art is the perfect understanding and harmony between horse and rider."
Another form of Equestrian Art
"A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence"
~ Pam Brown
The Joy of Horse Riding
These short quotes on the joys of riding are the sort that I've seen on the wall in more than one tack room.
"A canter is the cure for every evil."
"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle."
Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion."
What is your favourite "joy of riding" quote?
I was involved in the dressage competition world for many years. I wish more people would read these quotes and spend some time reflecting on them:
"Competitive riding should be classical riding at its best." ~ Charles de Kunffy
"Poll flexion is not Pull flexion." ~ Dr. Thomas Ritter
1980 Olympic Dressage Gold Medallists
There are some trainers whose influence continues beyond their students, and carries on to shape the thoughts of equestrians all over the world. Here are some enlightening words from three well known trainers.
"A horse will never tire of a rider who possesses both tact and sensitivity because he will never be pushed beyond his possibilities." ~ Nuno Oliveira
"Horsemanship is not merely a matter of bodily skills, but is based on scholarship and, therefore is a matter of the mind and intellect. Good horsemansip is based on proper character development and, therefore, is also a matter of mentality and spirit. Without the correct attitudes and insights, there cannot be the right sport." ~ Charles de Kunffy
"Brutality begins where skill ends." ~ Egon von Neindorff
A fantastic display of horsemanship... at the beach!
This is a such a fantastic video that I've included it here to give you a break from reading for two minutes! I think this video fits well here because it is inspiring to see people doing things like this with their horses. Who wouldn't want to play at the beach with their horse? It looks like they are having a great time!
I love to see people training with positive reinforcement! It is the way of the future, though perhaps you haven't seen anyone doing it yet. Or perhaps you have seen people training with food, but not doing it very well so that the horse appears "badly behaved". Please don't judge an entire training movement based on this. Remember that because this is a new form of training, many of the people you see doing it will be beginners and they will make mistakes. Or they may be experienced trainers, but they may not have learned about horse emotions and how critical they are to ensuring that the training is a truly positive experience for the horse. I encourage people to be curious! Learn from reputable sources who focus on how the horse feels about the training, not just on making the horse do what the human wants.
"Ask me to show you poetry in motion, and I will show you a horse." ~ Anonymous
Some quotes weren't meant to be about horse training, but they can inspire horse people all the same!
"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." ~ Will Rogers