In this era of quick fixes and sound bites, Randy Rieman stands tall as a clinician of ideas, reflections, and with a dedication to the long view. Rieman believes that riders need to invest in learning and the long journey of improvement and horse-rider knowledge. Although he has specific fixes for riding problems and pointed direction for certain issues, he places them in the padded nest of wisdom.
Some tidbits from his well-attended clinic in Mancos, Colorado:
- If you’re looking for a method instead of an understanding, you’re going to miss the understanding.
- Certain riders can have their horses no more collected with a spade bit than halter. Consider those Indians with leather thong full gallop, aiming for the last rib of a buffalo. If they can get that done, then we can get things done with a snaffle.
- Consider a learned behavior like a skin callus.
- Bill Dorrance was working with a young rider who was frustrated by the lack of progress with his horse. He asked Bill, “How long is this going to take?” Bill answered, “ I don’t know about you, but I got from now on.” I don’t have a schedule. I get my ego out of it.
- Use the appropriate amount of pressure for the current moment. It changes all the time.
- Bill Dorrance said most people are going beyond where the feel is. I got to thinking about that – it’s correct practically and philosophically speaking.
- A horse with a busy mind? Take him somewhere before their mind takes you somewhere.
- Have you ever noticed that two horses ridden by the same owner feel the same?
- You can impact a horse more if you get her attention when her leg is coming off the ground.
And finally, when one rider questioned herself and her abilities, Rieman recited (perfectly, with beautiful cadence, while horseback) part of Teddy Roosevelt’s speech, Citizenship in a Republic, 1910:
“…It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat…”