|What is Aikido?
Aikido is a Japanese martial art founded by Morihei
Ueshiba Osensei (1883-1969). Osensei was a
mathematician, shopkeeper, mystic, farmer,
warrior, pioneer, and poet. Training usually begins
with pairs performing kata: choreographed moves
that instill body awareness, correct posture, and
sharpen reflexes. Once the kata are familiar,
spontaneous freestyle movement naturally
emerges. The training is non-competitive and easily
adaptable to every level of physical ability.
Aikido movements have exact equivalents with an
equine partner, because of the anatomical
similarities of the two species. For example, a
particular twist of the wrist that redirects your
partner's attack, has its counterpart in the rollback.
How can it help?
Sometimes in horse training a vital piece gets lost,
and once we lose it we have to depend on
competitions or other "experts" to develop our
values. We get lost. Progress becomes stilted.
Aikido reminds me over and over to listen to my
partner, to make him right, and to act based on
feel and caring. The change is measurable.
Clients do not have to study aikido, and this is not a
marketing gimmick, but it's where I come from.
Is this an original style, or do you have forbears?
Yes, and yes. The style is original. Every move you
make with your horse is original and
never-to-be-repeated, and you are allowed u-turns
and do-overs. And, there is a lineage. In this time
we are lucky to stand on the shoulders of giants.
See the references page for a who's-who.
Do I have to learn a martial art to do this kind of
Yes. Horsemanship is a martial art. But you do not
have to wear white pajamas.
Will your techniques put my horse on the forehand?
Undoubtedly. And his rear-quarters, and onto his
near side, and onto his offside. For any attitude to
be truly volitional to the horse, he must be
comfortable in the opposite attitude as well.
Different postures reflect different emotional states.
So, if your horse needs calmness, I will set his
balance forward. If a state of excitement is called
for, I will help to elevate his withers and poll.
Do you require special equipment?
Yes. Your equipment must fit well and be in good
repair. Some horses do better with a rope halter,
some a flat halter. Braided rope leads offer more
feel than twisted ropes. If you use a bit choose the
mildest, plainest snaffle. If you need a leverage bit
or a tight caveson, we will quickly discover what
gaps in your training these tools disguise, and how
to fill in those gaps. We may progress to a different
bit as a tool for refinement, once the foundation is
solid. Any style of saddle will do. The fit of your
saddle will be considered early and often since it is
subject to change as your horse develops.
Is it safe?
You cannot support your horse unless you are
physically safe. The timeline, the site, your physical
agility and needs, and your horse's mental
equipment all must be set up for safety. Proper and
due caution in every decision down to the most
minute, builds trust with your horse (aiki). Are the
activities portrayed on this page safe?