Behind the Scenes with Alta Mira Horsemanship
I have made many wonderful connections through the Facebook Equestrian Bloggers group including with Lindsey Rains of Alta Mira Horsemanship. Her blog is a combination of stunning photography, beautiful artwork (drawn by Lindsey) and inspiring writing that is sure to have you hooked. In her writing Lindsey tells wonderful stories and masterfully weaves in lessons about horsemanship in a way that has learning without realising it AND wanting to get out and work with your partner. In addition to sharing her own learnings with horses, Lindsey has a series of posts dedicated to highlighting positive partnerships between horse and rider.
Alta Mira Horsemanship blog is a combination of stunning photography, beautiful artwork and inspiring writing sure to have you hooked. Click To Tweet
Perhaps what I love most about Lindsey’s writing and blog is that you get the sense that she has no ulterior motive, a refreshing change in the equestrian world, her desire to connect with her horse and place their welfare front and center is evident. Lindsey has also spoken honestly about her experiences with mental health and how this has impacted her riding.
I was really fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with Lindsey and get to know a bit more her and her blog.
Is there a meaning behind the name ‘Alta Mira Horsemanship’?
Yes, there is! And I am so glad you asked. The name “Alta Mira” was chosen because Alta Mira, Spain, is where the earliest cave paintings of horses were found. The premise of Alta Mira Horsemanship is to get to the essence of horse-and-human partnership–to skip all of the nuanced categories of horse riding and horse training disciplines and to find what has remained true over the years about horsemanship since horses and humans first began interacting. You can read more about the Meaning Behind the Name Alta Mira Horsemanship on my blog.
How did you first make your way into the equestrian world?
When I was only a couple of years old, I started drawing. After nearly three years of me drawing nearly exclusively horses, my mom decided to take me to my first lesson at age 5. Once I was old enough to join a show jumping barn at age 7, I was going every week, learning how to jump and moving from barn to barn to compete. Eventually I moved away from competition because I met a trainer who taught me so much more about competition – she taught me about partnership, horsemanship, and dressage fundamentals.
What is your horsemanship philosophy?
In just a handful of words: Act in the Horse’s Best Interest. I have seen such a range in approach to horsemanship over the years. There is a spectrum where at one end, you have the idea that horses are to be subservient to humans and are to be “made” to do things at all times, with a punishment cycle as its reinforcement and no room for input. On the other end of the spectrum is this idea that the horse is the leader, the horse always knows best, and we need to find what they’re telling us. While it seems silly to state either of those extremes, all of us fall somewhere along that spectrum. Neither of the extremes fully act in the horse’s best interest, because one inflicts much harm, and the other doesn’t provide the structure that horse’s need to feel safe and be healthy. Right in the middle of the spectrum is the balance, where a horse knows what is expected of him, yet can contribute to the partnership with heart, constructive feedback to the rider, work ethic, and trust. It is our duty as riders to make sure we are practicing what we know to be best for the horse physically and psychologically, even though they are below us in the leadership/ownership sense. It is important to me to continue learning and growing as I continue my horsemanship journey.
Lindsey's (@altamirahorse) horsemanship philosophy - Act in the horse's best interest. Click To Tweet
Has there been a particular horse that had a significant impact upon you as a horse person?
Let me avoid my cliche reflex of: “All horses that I have encountered have taught me so much.” When I was a young competitor, I rode a lot of different horses and often schooled the “problem horses.” So all of those learning experiences aside, the horse that had the greatest impact on me was the first horse I ever rode: Shadow. Shadow was a gorgeous bay Arabian-Quarter Horse gelding. He was the reason why I fell so deeply in love with horses at the start. Like any first horse, you bond so quickly because everything is new. After a couple years of lessons on Shadow, I had moved on to competition barns and didn’t ride him anymore. I took a couple of years off of horseback riding in high school due to depression, and Shadow actually brought me back. You can read more about that story here.
What inspires you to continue to grow as a horse person?
I cannot stop learning. This is my nature with everything I do, but having something like horse riding, where the learning never stops or plateaus, feeds my addiction to learn in a way nothing else ever has. I find that the more I learn, the more I am able to help horses blossom, which is such an incredible feeling of accomplishment and purpose.
What are you hoping to achieve through your blog?
I hope to help other people understand their horses better and see that partnership is simple, it just takes patience and work. I want them to know the deep feeling of satisfaction when they reach a bond and level of skill with their horses after working together with them. Furthermore, I want to engage in the online equestrian community to the end of making the world better for horses and their humans.
Talking to Lindsey confirmed that she is an open and thoughtful equestrian, one who truly inspires me to do better. I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Lindsey better. Be sure to head over to her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with her wonderful work.