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As the old saying goes, those schoolmasters are irreplaceable. It doesn't matter what type of horse it is or what discipline you ride, when they are a well-trained horse, they can allow you to learn and feel what is correct and build your confidence up tremendously. It is a rewarding experience to take lessons on a horse that has alot of miles accumulated whether you own a schoolmaster or take lessons on one.   Having a schoolmaster doesn't mean you have to be a beginner rider, their are some of us out there that prefer to have a well-schooled horse underneath us! Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are looking to lease or buy a schoolmaster:* A schoolmaster is best for a first horse, or for a rider wishing to have a safe reliable partner that they can count on to go to clinics and shows with minimal problems. * These horses are typically 14 years old and up. * Look for the horse to have experience in the discipline you want to ride in. * Must be appropriate for your level of ability. * Make sure you take a trainer or instructor to help you find a suitable mount if you should decide to purchase one.A well trained horse can help you develop feel, learn correct timing of aids and teach you to have steady hands and a well-balanced seat. A schoolmaster knows his job.  Whatever discipline the horse has been trained in, he or she doesn't try to figure out what you are asking for. They don't give you a different response every time you use a certain aid, a schoolmaster responds to the correct aids given. Some schoolmasters will give you exactly what you are asking for, although they may give you a different answer of what you were expecting. When you learn correct aids the rider starts learning not only what the correct response feels like, but also how to ask correctly. 
Horses with higher levels of experience tend to be very patient and generous. A true schoolmaster will only respond to correct aids, so it is important to ask for the aids with correct timing. Remember, no hard hands here get you anywhere! Having a schoolmaster doesn't mean the riding is going to be easy either. It might seem since they are well-trained that it will be easy to ride, but beware, you can be humbled quite quickly. I know from personal experience when I got to ride a Grand prix horse in a lesson many years ago, and all week I was jumping up and down with joy thinking this will be so much easier.

Boy, was I shocked. He put me in my place for sure. I felt like I was a beginner rider again. I can laugh about it now, but it wasn't so funny back then! You may tell your instructor that this may take a lifetime to learn at first, but  you will find your progression in learning will come. Be patient, they didn't build Rome in a day, and you can't learn to ride in a day either.

Once you begin to communicate with your horse correctly, you will start progressing quicker. You will become more confident and you will give more clearer and consistent aids to the horse as your training goes on.  Remember, communication is the essence of good riding. Becoming a good rider is a reflection of a good horse that has a great temperment, has been trained properly and is happy. No matter what, a rider should feel comfortable and well matched to the horse, otherwise it can become a frustrating progress in learning to ride. If you have to worry about what the horse is going to do and how they will react to certain situations all the time, this will impair your riding skills and you will not be focused on what you need to do and your confidence can be lost. Take the time to find that horse that will be your partner, it will pay off in "riding rewards" that cannot be replaced. If you have a tendency to be a nervous rider find the horse that will not react to your nervousness.
Their are horses out their that are more generous with a rider that tends to be more nervous, especially on show day, they realize that you are a bit jittery and will stay calm and take care of you. Finding the right horse with the rideability and temperament is important in your quest to find a schoolmaster.  A qualified instructor can help guide you in this process of finding the right match and compliment your riding and personality as well.  This will only help you become a better rider. Your trainer can also get on and ride to get a feel of the horse. He/she can watch from the ground to see how you are positioned on the horse, how your leg lies against the horses side which is essential for giving aids. These horses have extensive training and showing miles on them. They have plenty of experience loading on trailers, going to shows, being clipped and handled all the time. When it is time to go to shows, this can give the rider a chance to think about what they need to do such as remembering their tests and how they need to stay focused and stay balanced for their equine partner. We all know the show jitters, but these guys know their job and are always happy to oblige and say: Let's go, focus and stay with me,  we will be just fine. TRUST is such a big factor with partnerships and it really stems from good communication from your horse and with your instructor.

It doesn't matter if your aspirations are to take lessons or go to shows, having a schoolmaster is very cool. Going to lessons and taking a class with other riders your age can be a blast with your well-schooled horse, which can be a boost in itself. 

Make sure you have a veternarian examine your new partner. Talk with the previous owner to get his feeding regimen. If he needs special feed or hay ask for a list of exactly what he is being fed. Find out if your new equine partner needs to take medication/supplements and what type of schedule he or she is on, as it should be kept in the same manner they are accustomed to. Talk with the Farrier who has been doing the shoeing. You wouldn't want to wear a pair of shoes that didn't fit and neither does your horse. Write down phone numbers so that if you need to find out any important information you can get it easily.Find out what type of work schedule they have been doing, that way you can adjust his/her work schedule to yours.
Older Schoolmasters need more warm-up time before their work sessions. I know this from personal experience and both my horses are still fit and going in their twenties. Remember, horses need time and adjustment just like people, so keep this in mind and be patient. The feeling of accomplishment can take you a long way, not just in the equine world, but in every day life. As a mom it helped me in my "Mom and work world." Confidence is rewarding not just for the rider, but for the horse as well.  Horses like to go home and have a nice lunch and a drink of water, just like we do when we are done riding. These schoolmasters are worth their weight in gold. Every horse should be loved and pampered unconditionally.  Once you have owned a schoolmaster it is hard to want to own anything else. They work hard just to please us and to help us make our goals come true. It has been said that schoolmasters can almost teach you by themselves they are so well-trained!
Looking for a  schoolmaster? Here are some tips that will help you in your quest to find that perfect   partner you can dance with!
Relaxed horses are able to perform with rhythm and regularity, and are confident and engaged in their work.

Effective communication and harmony between horse and rider are among the goals of proper training.

Just like we need to take a break from training, so do our equine partners. Remember, this is a team effort.
Training must follow consistency. Aim for positive clear instructions to your horse.
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