Irishhorsemanship.com was founded in 2003 to connect people in Ireland who want to learn more about training horses of all types, ages and disciplines. We now offer clinics and get-togethers in Ireland with leading national and international trainers, and maintain a register of approved horse trainers based around the country who are available for private lessons and horse training help. We also hold monthly fundays in Limerick which are open to all and are a great way to meet people. Just as importantly we are also a growing community of talented horse owners and trainers, where you can find great support and friendship.
We are also currently expanding our web section, with the addition of a new members social community area and an elearing video tutorials section. We also have our online forum where you can discuss all aspects of horse training. We have a number of very talented members who have developed horse books, kids pony cdroms, ropes and sticks, equipment, artwork, and jewellery and you can also find them online here. Please feel free to email us at any stage at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you
WHY WAS IRISHHORSEMANSHIP.COM SET UP?
In a long story which involved quitting a sensible job in I.T. in Dublin and going backpacking around Australia in 2003, I ended up out doing horses in the Southern Alps in New Zealand, and was inspired by the beautiful ways their trained their horses at this yard. Everything looked simple and elegant, and the absense of force and the presence of softness and beauty in their work was incredible. I was hooked. IrishHorsemanship.com was set up in early 2004, to find out if there were any other Irish people interested in learning more about good horse training and sharing knowledge on how to do this.
WHY DO I BELIEVE IN GOOD HORSEMANSHIP?
When I was six years old my first riding instructor taught me that one of the most precious things a horseman has are gentle hands when you’re riding. I was pretty impressed with how much he knew about horses and how he always seemed to know what to do to get the best out of them, and so sat on my cute hairy shetland, who either walked, stopped, ate, pooed or slept, I remarked to him one day that he must know everything about horses. He smiled and said that no one knew everything there was to know about horses.
Those two things are pretty huge concepts for a six year old, but they have always stuck with me. I always believed that a great rider and horseperson (which I wanted to be when I grew up) was always able to get the best out of a horse by working with him patiently, having an incredible understanding of horses and how they behave and think, and being able to communicate and understand them. My grandfather used to train and show a lot of horses. From what I’ve heard (he passed away before I arrived), his approach was also to know what you’re doing, work with the horse, give him time and aim to ride with your reins as if they were two pieces of thread.
Good horsemanship is an art form. Even to this day, Pat Ryan of Bawnmore (deceased) is still spoken of in Tipperary as being an incredible man to make a horse, fabulous invisible control of and way with horses. To see him ride would take your breath away. Throughout Ireland, there have always been some incredible horse people. I leant everything I could as I grew up, and moved from ponies to horses. But personally for me while I knew that you should respect a horse and work with him, use gentle hands and keep learning as much as you could. But sometimes the practical riding I was learning (kick, pull, force, stress, pressure) didn’t match up with how I believed it was possible to train a horse.
I use all the Irish horsemanship methods I grew up with, but after a chance encounter with a horse who walked into a horsebox on his own out in New Zealand I’ve added a few more things along the way too which I find really useful in day to day handling and riding. They’re only small things but they work well, and they’ve got me closer to that image of a person and a horse working together beautifully. The things I learnt out in New Zealand and Australia came with a ‘natural’ label, but I simply judged them on whether they worked or not. I’m pretty skeptical of showmanship, waffle and people who overtalk and underperform and I have a limited patience for people who think they know more than they do. But what I saw worked, (actually worked really well) so I borrowed a few ideas and brought them back to Ireland. Now I try to use the best horsemanship I know of, Irish, Kiwi, English, Australian, etc. I’m not “natural”, and I don’t like labels. Ozzie, my 6yo grey of unknown breeding is one of my many brilliant teachers at the moment. I just try to use the best horsemanship I know of and I look forward to learning more any where I can. Horses are the ultimate never ending education.
I’ve been back and forth since 2003, and during this time IrishHorsemanship.com has also grown with new people and ideas, all in the pursuit of good horsemanship that achieves results, is commerical, makes sense and does what it says on the tin. There is amazing horsemanship in Ireland, always has been, and I wanted somewhere this could be shared. We all have things to teach and learn.
I hope you enjoy the website.