Friday, September 4, 2015

It's always better with an accent

I took my first NY lesson this morning. I am horrible at writing up cohesive, thought provoking lesson recaps (and ride recaps....and really posts in general), but I did want to prove that I rode with a trainer.

I know some of you think I am against this. That is false information. I am all for spending even more money of my horse/myself in regards to my horse in every aspect. However, I have zero tolerance for paying people for bad service. Money is tight, yo. Only the best get it.

Also Tractor Supply gets it. They just get all of it. I'm pretty sure I keep them afloat with the amount of fly spray and dog bones I buy from them. But that is not even remotely relevant to this post.

not from today. no phone = no new media. hoping to remedy that this weekend.

My instructor is a R judge (read Megan's post on dressage judge levels because she is more brilliant than I am). She's eighty years old, about five feet tall, and speaks with a British accent. She is, in a word, saucy, so here are my takeaways from our first "getting to know you" ride:
  • This horse has no topline. He's just walking around, perfectly pleasant, in his own world. "Oh, I'm a horse. Being a horse is wonderful."
  • I see he's wearing a Micklem bridle. Now there's nothing wrong with the design, it's quite alright, but there is one serious problem with them. Their leather is cheap trash. It doesn't affect the horse, but still.
  • Stop dancing around with your elbows. Bring them back. Your hands and your forearms belong to the the horse. Your elbows and your shoulders belong to your back.
  • Slow down. Slow the tempo. Much slower. Even slower than that. Slow him down again. He's just running off his feet. 
  • If you put your head on top of your shoulders, that will be a very elegant picture indeed.
  • I don't really care about the canter. You either have a good canter or you don't. We're always looking to improve the horse's trot and walk. An elevated trot is going to make every other gait better.
  • Don't ever buy a horse that someone has told you has had a lot of training if he still has a dip in his withers. He's going to be a very spooky horse. He's too busy spooking to listen to the rider and lift all the way up and through to his poll. 
  • Oh, my. You're a very good rider. (I feel the need to include this because it was followed shortly by...)
  • Now don't let him pop his head up. Let's see if we can get him to going around not looking like a browsing animal. Oh, no. Just come back to sitting trot. That's no good. (This for the right lead canter which we've done approximately three times since he's been back in work.)
  • When he softens and rounds up, don't reward him by giving away the contact. That's not rewarding. That's teaching him all he has to do is drop his nose for a second and go back to walking like a giraffe. Just follow with your hands and carry on.
  • He uses his diaphragm very well. Not all horses do. Once he gains muscle, he's going to have a very easy time lifting his back.  
  • I don't like to pat my horses. I give them a scratch on the withers, otherwise you're losing contact. 
  • Forty five minutes of this four or five days a week is just what he needs. In three months, you should be in a very good spot.
  • A good riding horse is one that's solid through Second Level. Likewise, a good event horse should be solid through Preliminary. It's alright to play around at these lower levels, but a well rounded horse should be aiming higher. Strive to get to those levels.
that is no optical illusion. he really is the longest cookie monster you've ever seen.

We didn't do too much. She was told right from the outset that Bobby is coming back off an injury and he's not fit. Since I've been walking for a good twenty minutes to start and then a few minutes of canter to warm up before we even start with real work, Bobby wasn't exactly a shining star. He takes a long time to warm up, and it was a little embarrassing that he went full on llama for most of the ride. 

Still, I did get some good stuff out of her. She gave me homework (a necessity from anyone I ride with), and she found a way to compliment both myself and my horse while still critiquing. She's also in my price range for lessons, so I will be riding again with her next week. I doubt I'll be able to afford weekly lessons, but I'm hopeful this can be a semi-regular occurrence.

24 comments:

  1. This woman sounds AMAZING and so spunky! LOVE IT! She also gave you some great little tidbits there. Glad you found a trainer you click with up there in horrible NY!

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  2. Umm, she sounds awesome. And terrifying.

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  3. Now that sounds like a worthwhile lesson!!

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  4. Omg I love her. Can I come lesson too?

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  5. Sounds exactly like my first lesson with my new instructor. Hope things go well for you!

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  6. Love her!! I'm totally in love with spunky little old ladies though so I may be biased ;-)

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  7. haha i love her attitude - glad that you got a lot from her style!

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  8. I want to borrow your 80 year old British lady.

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  9. Wow, she sounds awesome! Sounds a lot like one of my (very British) pony club instructors. I am picturing a cute old British lady version of the muppet hecklers....

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  10. I want her. I also approve of her opinions on micklems.

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  11. I second the comment of sounding awesome and terrifying!

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  12. My god, this woman sounds like gold. Semi regular lessons work pretty well for me (also when the bank account allows). I think having the time between the lessons to do the homework can be really helpful! That could just be me though

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  13. Omg she sounds AMAZING. I love her. She sounds small enough to be mailed. After your next lesson, please shove her in an envelope and send her out to California. I promise to send her back before your next lesson.

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    1. Then send her out to me. I'm closer. We can share easier.... ;

      I second the scratch on the withers thing. I heard somewhere once that a scratch on the withers is more reassuring to a horse than a pat. I've had much luck with it.

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    2. Send her here too! I'm pretty sure this woman has hero status, those comments are da bomb!

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  14. She sounds like a hoot! And informative, too.

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  15. She sounds like she could kick my ass pretty easily.

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  16. Sounds like a very valuable lesson!

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  17. Perfect. The 80 year old British lady who lives near me only coaches kids (and not even much of that anymore) and she screams a lot. I've known her since I was 14--never took a lesson from her--and a couple months ago she grabbed my arm and hollered at me about tattoos. It was marvelous. I wish I'd had it on tape. I'll say this for her: she knows how to put a position on kids.

    I'm glad you had a good lesson! It's so great to find the right coach.

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  18. She sounds absolutely wonderful :)

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  19. I think that the most educational lessons come from hard ass trainers with a sense of humor and no filtering of their thoughts. It makes the lesson more fun and memorable, especially when you add in the accent.

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  20. sounds like a productive lesson! harness the skillz

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  21. She sounds wonderful! Can't wait to here about your next lesson.

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.