Riding school Geronimo characteristic no. 1
Riding school Geronimo is situated in the middle of the forest. If you just thought ‘So what?’, let me explain. When it comes to the method of teaching riding, Geronimo riding school is closer to Indian than Croatian or European riders. Having the possibility to ride into the forest directly from the paddock, without crossing any big roads, gives us the opportunity to have trail rides with pure beginners. Basically, most of the riders get to their first trail ride after no more than two hours of trotting lessons, counting out the first lesson about horse psychology, saddling and so on, because there’s no riding the horse during those two classes. That would be impossible or dangerous if the forest was located “a few roads further”. The forest is important because the horses there don’t feel free, they are not brave, don’t try to race and so on. They act just the way the beginners need while they are learning their first riding steps. Later, when riders get the hang of the trotting sequences on both flat and bumpy surfaces and they loosen up, we move on to riding in the meadows. Neck reining is taught exclusively in the forest. Supposedly, the indian riders learned the same way, they would break in young horses in the streams and teach young riders how to ride in the forest, which is not a horse’s natural habitat. They used all the shortcuts to make their job easier. Why roll a 200 kg stone by hand when you can use a 3 meter lever?
Geronimo horseback ridng school characteristic no. 2.
Riding school is done on the horses which don’t live in the barn but live freely on the 12 or 30 acres of meadow under the blue sky, they drink the water directly from the stream or lake. This may be the most notable characteristic of Geronimo riding school. Horses that live ALL year round in the open area, during rain and snow, while the terrain is slippery or frozen, become skilled and capable of moving on those surfaces. Not to get confused, there are covered places where horses can hide from the rain. They know how to put their hooves like skis while climbing a steep, slippery slope because they do it every day. Beginner riders manage to ride through extremely tough nature built terrains on the horses which are born and sleep under the stars. The horses are skilled, well trained and love people. They are hot-blood horses. We have divided the duties and don’t meddle into each other’s business. It’s a horse’s decision how to pass a certain terrain, and it’s a rider’s duty to help the horse by his own body position and to stay on the horse while at it.
Geronimo riding school characteristic no. 3.
The horses are trained to understand neck reining, western-style. Not only is it useful to have a free hand to move the branches out of the way while galloping in the forest, but more importantly, it enables the rider to learn to ride in the shortest period possible because steering the horse is done not only by hand, but by changing the body position. To make it simple, it’s similar to riding a bike-when you want to turn left, you lean left, otherwise you fall of the bike or, in our case, the horse. Also, unlike English style, western style is very horse-friendly, the horse is rewarded for obedience by loose reins and by absence of pressure on the ribs. In my opinion, English riding style is unnatural and not intuitive for both horse and the rider. It takes a long time to learn and it is very unsafe, not to say dangerous, on the extreme terrains. English people do everything wrong, they even put the steering wheel to the wrong side of the car, so unfortunately, horseback riding is no different.
Geronimo riding school characteristic no. 4
It takes a very short period of time for beginners to learn how to ride a horse. Starting from scratch and up to gallop in the forest or meadows, the club average is 30 hours. It takes a few more lessons to gallop in the forest outside the marked trail. The club record is 30 hours from beginning to gallop, and it’s held by Petra. What matters is that the rider has no fear. There is a special set of exercises that are guaranteed to help if done regularly, and in some cases, the girls have beaten their fear after no more than 7 days of practice.
Geronimo riding school characteristic no. 5
Very small number of injuries. Up to today, altogether two. The first one was in the beginning, while I was still trying to follow the classic riding school method of teaching, where learning to gallop is done in the paddock. Since then, we teach gallop on the big, lightly sloping meadow. Our mission is to demystify horse riding, to use horses for trail rides that are unpassable for any other mean of transport, to absolve riding from all the myths and lies. Once upon a time, everybody rode, young and old, and didn’t think anything of it.
Geronimo riding school characteristic no 6.
Horse psychology. I started teaching it when I noticed that an experienced school mare obediently followed an 8-year old girl, and at the same time, drove grown-up women crazy with disobedience. I’ve never heard that anybody tried to explain the difference between the carnivorous and predator (human) way of thinking which, in my opinion, is a trigger to most of the injuries and frustrations that people get when hanging around the half-ton animal. The topic is so elaborate that the first lesson usually takes about three hours. That’s why I’ve decided to make a bunch of short movies which will cover every aspect of human-horses-riding connection and how I see it. They’ll be free and it’ll be enough to register here to be able to download them. The topic is big, there will be a lot of videos and we’ll keep you posted by e-mail. Horses are not puppy dogs, it’s useful to know what makes them tick and why. The horses are not poodles, it’s useful to know what makes them tick and why.
Who is Geronimo riding school meant for..?
… For everybody between the ages of 8 to 60, who think that riding in the almost laboratory conditions in the paddock is not enough and for those who love exploring the nature outside the paved paths. If I still haven’t managed to scare you off and you don’t think I’m crazy, keep reading through these pages. I wish wind in the hair to all of you. Or, at least around the ears for those who shave their head like I do.