Horse’s life cycles | Rink

Quelques idées sur les chevaux à garder en mémoire selon Bjarke Rink


Here are some basic checkpoints that a trainer should keep in mind about some of the horse’s life cycles that rules his health, happiness and inclination to cooperate :

  1. The horse’s body and mind is part of the same system and to become a good performer the phychological aspects of equitation must progress at the same pace as the physical action. What his mind cannot understand his body cannot perform.
  2. The horse was born with all the ressources that he’ll need in his new equestrian life and the trainer’s job is not to teach him anything ‘new’, but to make him perform his natural movements in the multiple sequences required by sport and leisure riding.
  3. The horse’s equestrian learning must follow his biological cycle of evolution (ontogenesis) from the time of birth throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood […].
  4. A ‘complete training cycle’, the time spent from brushing, saddling, and mounting to the time when the horse is unsaddled and brushed after a workout, should repeat the horse’s equestrian evolutionary cycle : the session should start with the ‘join up’, then the mounting of the horse, a ten minutes walk including flexions, a trot, a gallop, and only then should the horse tackle the exercise that he is currenty working on.
  5. During one ‘complete training cycle’, ‘short exercise cycles’ should be introduced in the ring. The smaller cycles – form immobility to exercise to immobility – may take one, two, or three minutes, depending on the type ok work, the horse’s age and his physical conditioning. When the animal has completed a ‘short exercise cycle’ he should be halted and only started again after sighing, which shows that he has reorganized his respiratory system, and may start another ‘short exercise cycle’.
  6. After a complete workout his biological clock will have completed one training cycle and he should be congratulated and made much of. By working within the horse’s natural life cycles, the animal will develop good will to the whole idea of equitation, an absolute prerequisite to advanced horsemanship.
  7. During workouts the horse believes that he is performing the transitions and changes of direction by his own will, and it is the trainer’s duty to re-enforce this belief and humour him to put maximum faith in his effort. The domineering attitude ‘you must do what I’m commanding’ should change to ‘I’m here to help you do the right thing.’


Bjarke RINK, The Centaur Legacy : how equine speed and human intelligence shaped the course of history, [s.l.] : The Long Riders’ Guild Press, coll. The Equestrian Wisdom and History Series, 2004, pp. 238-239.

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