University of Vermont AAHS

Taking On That Elephant!

[reproduced from fall 2001 Caution:Horses, Vol. 6, No. 3]


#64 CR 1788

American Association for Horsemanship Safety, Inc.
Drawer 39
Fentress, TX 78622

Dear Jan:

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you and everyone else at AAHS how much I learned by participating in the certification clinic in April. I thoroughly enjoyed Mary and Barry [Nelson] the week I was in Wimberley. Mary is a wonderful person and instructor. I feel fortunate having been able to attend the clinic at Rocky River Ranch. Not only did I go away with a new respect for teaching safe horsemanship practices to my students, I was able to observe Mary giving lessons, working with her "barn-rats" and schooling some of the horses she has in training. I have had the opportunity to apply some of her training techniques to a few of the saddle horses I have in training. In my opinion, she is definitely an asset to the AAHS. It is always refreshing to meet honest and caring people, such as Mary and Barry, in the horse industry.

I must say, after coming back home and teaching the Secure Seat <sm>Method, I am amazed at how much better my current students are riding. I can actually breathe when they start trotting. Cantering, thankfully, is a little farther down the road.

However, the response in the general sector has not been favorable. I am currently trying to get a foot in the door with the local 4-H and Pony Clubs. So far I have been called a "shyster", "coyote", and a "fraud'. Luckily, my truck has not been egged and my house has not been TP'd yet. Do you have any suggestions that may help get through to these people how important it is to practice safe horsemanship? At this point I feel like I'm butting heads with an elephant. It is driving me crazy because I see my students respond to the techniques I was taught and pass on, yet I'll go to horse shows and gyrnkahana's and end up praying the whole time that nobody gets seriously injured. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for creating a much-needed service for the horse industry!


Jody L. Burch

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