Monday, October 26, 2015

Friday's Lesson

On Friday, I finally got another lesson in after having to put the last one off due to arena work. In a fun turn of events, it ended up being a private since the horse BM was riding decided he could not horse that day and BM spent our entire ride time making him do walk halt transitions. While I do feel bad for BM that she missed the lesson, she's a far better rider than I, and I kept casting wistful looks her way as Trainer pressed the right lead canter issue(s) without any let up to yell at BM instead.

It wasn't all torturous though, and at the end of it, Trainer was beaming with what we finished on. It was nice to show off how hard we've been working on our own instead of telling Trainer we can do things and then having my horse flail around for an hour.

as always, i have no lesson video, but i do have some saturday ride media to share

This lesson recap won't be full of Trainer's patented sassy pro tips, but I got a lot out of it, so it's getting recorded for myself.

I started off telling her about my troubles with Bobby slinging his head up whenever I pick up my reins for any sort of transition. Before I could finish, she'd sent me off at the free walk. Ignoring my rein length, she told me to sit for the medium walk. I should have figured this out myself as Trainer's answer for every transition is to sit for it and it will come.

Bobby brought his head up when I sat for the medium walk, but he wasn't throwing it up. He simply collected himself in response to my seat and his whole front end came up. Then I had a loop in my reins that I quietly got rid of. Durh.

That will still need work though as I'm way too quick to just shorten up my reins and correct him after instead of asking for what I want with my body and adjusting my rein length accordingly afterwards.

trot warm up saturday

Speaking of corrections, Trainer reminded me that when I'm at home, I'm schooling. If I run into a problem--a bad transition, the canter falls of the tracks, etc--bag it. There's no reason to keep trying to push through. Come back and try again until I get it right. Perfect practice and all that.

As we got trotting to warm up, we didn't have to be perfect, but he did have to go to work and make sure the basics were sharp. She had me moving his haunches around in preparation for the canter. Even if they were messy, she said they'd still help loosen up his hind end.

Messy was a nice word for it. Trainer's word was sneaky. He can move them to the outside, but ask him to push them over to the inside? Bobby said fuck that noise. I could feel him start to really tense up and think about throwing one of his infamous shit fits. I was like, "Trainer, he thinks this is really hard. I don't-"

And Trainer cut right in with, "It doesn't matter if he thinks it's hard, he's got to do it anyway. You asked him to do, he's a horse, and now he's going to do it."

With that calm ultimatum, I gave a mental shrug and told Bobby to carry on. And he did. Hmph. Trainer had me stop so she could lecture me about getting used to his evasions and feeding into them. Guilty as charged.

We finally moved on to the canter. We got nothing but gold stars for the left lead. "The canter, when balanced, should be silent. That canter was silent. I have nothing else to say about it. Just lovely."

canter left

To the right: "His favorite evasion is just to dump himself onto his forehand. That hind end was trailing along so badly that the only reason it was coming with you at the canter is because it just happens to be attached to his front half."

Er, yes. Off we went again. This time she had us start trotting to the left, change the rein through the circle, and then the second we hit the wall to turn right, ask for it. That worked much better, though it's still nothing pretty. Trainer let us go with, "Bearable." That might be the nicest thing she's said about it yet!

canter right

Finally, to finish off, she sent us out at the trot again, this time asking Bobby to really open up his stride while keeping that front half elevated and light. We've finished on this on our own the past couple of rides and it's been magic. It was no different this time around. After almost an hour of being pushed to work correctly, Bobby was in tune to everything and floated around like a magical unicorn.

Trainer pointed out that he probably won't ever be a horse I can just come right out and get on and get this level of work. I have to figure out the right warm up. At shows, I'll need to do mostly the stuff he finds easy to keep him happy and listening. Most people want to try to do a last minute fix of the things we find hard, but all that does is make the horse tense.

Trainer doubled Bobby's post ride Polo allotment (Could Trainer be any more British? I don't think so.) for being such a good britches and told me, "That has to be so fun for you!" Yes. It is fun when my horse knows how to horse. I think I'll keep him around a little bit longer.


  1. You guys look so amazing! His canter has totally transformed, he looks so relaxed and just totally with you.

  2. Wow, you guys look like rockstars! Great work :)

  3. He looks great - glad you are getting a lot of productivity from your rides :)

  4. Yay Bobby! You can horse in the presence of the trainer. Nicely done!

  5. WHYYYYY is it so hard to remember seat first, THEN rein for a transition? Seriously, I have no idea, but my hands just go off and do their thing while my seat is asleep at the wheel. I totally share your pain, here, and Paddy shares Bobby's.

  6. Sounds like you both got a lot out of that lesson!! Finding a warm up regime that works every time is an art form...not a science. Lol Youll get it soon!! You both look great in those videos.

  7. that left lead canter - swoon! also i love that concept of 'sitting for it' - definitely something to think about with my own mare, who is oh so famous for flinging her nose around. also great points about warming up at a show and working on the easy stuff to keep the horse happy.

  8. Yep, that left lead is totally swoon worthy. I really really like these lesson recaps - not just because of the sassy pro-tips (which are obviously awesome) but you're also able to make it such a readable, informative post. I'm so jealous that you can remember enough of what your trainer says to incorporate her speaking into your writing - I totally struggle with that! Even just to paraphrase!

  9. I think I am a little in love with your trainer. I'm from the UK originally and Oh God I miss the sarcasm.Bobby's looking great, BTW.

  10. Yeah! Sounds like you're enjoying your lessons!

  11. Looking good! I love your lesson recaps. Your trainer sounds awesome!


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