Sunburst Horsemanship Center, LLC
Serving the Lexington, Kentucky area

859-224-8480
Lexington, KY



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In the Lexington, Kentucky area
 

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Riding at Sunburst School of Horsemanship is just plain FUN!
By
Bess Short

I can honestly say that my most recent trip to Kentucky this fall of 2006, which included taking lessons with Rosemary Taylor, of Sunburst School of Horsemanship, was even more enjoyable than my last trip in February of the same year. At that time, this chilly Florida girl was probably more focused on preventing frostbite. Rosemary’s approach to riding is a lot different than that of other instructors I have had over the years. In fact, I felt like a complete novice all over again. On the other hand, by the time we were through, riding seemed so much simpler than all the fussy things I had been taught over the years. Basically, it was learning how to communicate with your horse in the simplest and most direct way, with balance and body position, which is a very focused and centered way to ride. But the best part was that, not only did it work on Rosemary’s various school horses, it worked the same way on my horses at home. My return visit this month of September was just as illuminating.

Not only is the atmosphere always lively and interesting at Sunburst, but Rosemary always has something up her sleeve…something calculated to get her riders thinking, not only about their own riding but that of others. THINKING seems to play a large part in Rosemary’s teaching. Yes, certain parts of riding become automatic over time, but that doesn’t mean the thinking stops. There is thinking about your position in the saddle and how that affects the horse’s behavior. There is thinking about the nuances of communication that make the difference between an average ride (or rider) and a truly great two-way venture between patient mount and attentive rider. There is also thinking about what other horses and riders are doing, being aware of their space, their actions and interactions with you and your mount. There is even thinking about how the rider’s thinking affects the horse. And there is always thinking about the next horse.

Just about the time one is beginning to feel comfortable on one mount, Rosemary switches the rider to another horse and another and another, always challenging the student to figure out how to communicate with yet another individual, for every horse in her barn, as in all barns really, is a distinct individual, from dainty but spirited Arabian Raj, to athletic Thoroughbred Louie, to mountainous Belgian Jane with her amazingly flowing gaits, to Gorgeous Gerta, a horse of uncertain pedigree but absolutely certain opinions and unparalleled patience. Riding one horse is never the goal, rather being able to ride any horse with equal aplomb is the mark of the true horseman or horsewoman. Instructing, nudging, encouraging, refining…these are the hallmarks of Rosemary’s program. And they work, as attested to by the enthusiasm of her students.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a first-time rider, a seasoned veteran returning to horseback after a prolonged layoff, an accomplished equestrian on the show circuit, or just a weekend wannabe who loves horses, Rosemary has a plan for you. But there are some requirements: (1) love of horses, (2) a kind and compassionate attitude towards our four-legged friends, (3) a deep-seated desire to learn, and (4) and the dedication to keep on trying. At least this is what I have taken away from Rosemary’s program. And I can’t wait to go to Kentucky again.

Bess Short

P.S. Personally, I think that Rosemary was a horse in another life. Perhaps that is how she knows just how horses should be treated…with love and respect and kindness, a definite win-win combination for a lifetime of happy riding.

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