Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why does riding with a new trainer feel like going on a blind date?

I wonder if it is just me or if everyone else gets nervous about riding in front of a new trainer.  I always feel a little awkward, like I am worried about representing my previous trainer, horse, and self badly.  With all that baggage I am dragging into the lesson it is amazing if I can ride at all!

So cute it hurts.  
That being said, it was a very good lesson with the new jumping trainer.  We didn't do anything overly complicated as the main idea was to see how we got along as student/teacher in case I don't like my new barn and want to come back or just decide to train with her on occasion as a trailer in.

She was very complimentary of Fawkes, which is of course the fastest route to my heart.  I take an inordinate amount of pride in this horse since a) I am not confirmation expert but I have always liked how he was put together and b) I have put the literal blood, sweat, and tears into transforming him from retired field fatty into the well muscled beast he is now.  His vet, saddle fitter, and chiro have all told me how evenly muscled he is which is likely a combination of good genetics and also my hard damn work.  So yeah, I get a little smug when people say how good he looks.

Fancy trot
Flat work was a bunch of transitions while posting and in two point, with some sitting trot thrown in to torture me and a little lateral work to torture Fawkes.  Trainer says she is generally a bit of a drill sergeant on flat work which is awesome because I am inherently lazy.

Then we went onto trot poles that she gradually built into trot poles to a bounce.  Since Fawkes was being brave we were able to focus on pace and my equitation.  Which translates to not letting Fawkes alternate between sucking back and rushing and trying to get me to correct my rounded back (sigh, that will probably never be fully solved) and the fact that I get my butt way too far out of the saddle.

Guess which one of us was easier to fix?

Case in point.  Back isn't terribly round here but why on earth do I feel the need to jump ahead? Not impressive.  However, his neck use here is yummy.
For Fawkes, it was mostly just half halting before the poles and re-enforcing the half halt with an actual halt sometimes.  Then keeping my leg on through the poles so he didn't lose momentum.  For me, it was much harder.  Trying to focus on sinking my weight into my heel and not lifting out of the saddle over the jump.
No seriously, it makes my teeth ache how cute he is
 And at the same time she would say to "pull my belly button down towards his neck" to keep the back flat.

There was definitely some progress.  And what I love about having pictures is that I had a chicken wing elbow thing going on tonight that I didn't notice while riding.  Will need to keep that in mind next time.  Also interesting looking through the photos is that I seem to have an easier time riding correctly when he doesn't over jump.  When he puts a larger effort in, I seem more inclined to jump ahead.  Need to think about the causality there.  Maybe me jumping ahead makes him over jump....

Back definitely better, butt still too high. And get me
some blue cheese for those chicken wings!
Another thing to put on the list.  Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with how much I need to get better at, but mostly I really love the challenge. This sport is fun for me because no matter how many years I ride there is still so much to do! And because when I do finally get something right, Fawkes almost inevitably improves as well.  Most likely thinking "Finally, that stupid girl started helping me instead of asking me to compensate for her mistakes.  Now get off and get me a carrot."


  1. Aren't there always things to fix!? Seriously it's like if one gets their heels down their elbows pop out and then they get fixed and a shoulder drops etc. I think that is why riding is so great, there is always something to work on. You guys really look good though!

    1. Thank you! And yes, I am the poster child for fixing one thing and immediately breaking another. Trainers will always get their moneys worth from me :)

  2. I get nervous sometimes too when riding in front of someone new. Some people more nervous then others. And yes there is always something to fix but that last picture is pretty good even if you think you have chicken wings :)

    1. Thanks! I saw you have ridden with George Morris - I don't think I would have what it takes for that