The rider sees a horse “misbehaving” and “schools” it or punishes it. The horseman sees a horse misbehaving and attempts to find the cause of the problem, knowing that acting out tends to come from mental or physical pain or stress or the horse just trying to communicate.
The rider can see where a horse is looking. The horseman knew his horse was going to look there when he saw his horse's ear move there first, and understands the type of look in his horse's eye.
The rider gets a horse and trains it. The horseman gets a horse and establishes a relationship with it first, knowing that training a horse is much easier once you are connected mentally. Sometimes, the horse even trains itself.
The rider can approach his horse and put a halter on. The horseman has established a relationship with his horse, so the horse approaches him.
The rider pulls his horse from the stall or paddock, tacks up and rides off. The horseman spends more time doing groundwork than riding. When pulling his horse from the stall or paddock, he checks in on the horse’s mental and physical wellbeing before mounting and riding off.
The rider keeps his horse in a stable, preventing the horse from injuring itself and because his horse panics when left out. The horseman keeps his horse in a paddock or pasture with a herd, allowing the horse to be a horse.
The rider knows how a horse should look under saddle for his respective discipline. The horseman knows how a horse should feel from the ground AND under saddle for any discipline and if the horse is off, does not ride that day.
The rider has a saddle fitter to ensure that the horse’s tack fits properly. The horseman understands his horse’s anatomy, knows how to fit his horse’s saddle properly, more importantly - knows when a saddle DOES NOT fit properly, knows that the horse’s anatomy will change throughout the year and the tack should change accordingly.
The rider has a farrier to work on his horse’s feet and trim/shoe at appropriate intervals. The horseman understands his horse’s axial skeleton anatomy and works with his farrier to create a balanced trimming and shoeing method while studying new advances in equine technologies to ensure that the new science is applied.
The rider has a vet on call for when emergencies occur. The horseman consults regularly with a group of vets who specialize in different veterinary disciplines for the preventative care of his horse.
The rider recognizes that his horse is sick and calls his vet. The horseman recognizes his horse is sick and is prepared to deal with a number of different illnesses and injuries appropriately before needing to call a vet.
The rider understands that equestrian sciences have been around for a long time and those guidelines should be followed. The horseman understands that new studies are being performed constantly, new technologies are being created constantly, and the old ways rarely hold any relevance in modern horsemanship. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and you can’t tell me I’m wrong” is not part of his dialogue.
The rider is able to talk about his horse with some understanding. The horseman is willing to listen, take advice, learn new things and discern the difference between fact and fiction.
The rider rides his horse throughout the year, hoping that injury will go away.
The horseman doesn't ride his horse when it is injured, no matter how long the physical therapy takes.
The rider tries to improve his riding skills to become a better rider.
The horseman works on improving his fitness level, developing strength, balance, and stability in order to become a lighter and better rider because he knows that being a lighter rider is not about losing weight.
Are you a rider or a horseman/woman? It doesn't matter to me which you are, just be honest with yourself.