It sometimes surprises me just how strongly some people feel about training rides. I’m not one of those people who thinks that just because someone else got on my horse for a few rides it means that I didn’t bring him up myself. I think having a professional on your horse once in a while (or more than once in a while if you can afford it) is super valuable. Especially if you’re an ammy like me. Not only does it give my horse a nice little tune up, it helps get him through concepts that I’m struggling with.
So anyway, new trainer wanted to hop on Gus for a few minutes this weekend and I said, why don’t you just ride him on Sunday? Thankfully she said yes.
He was a little bit of a pissant when she got on because he was annoyed about the flash (we won’t mention that it was so loose that it really wasn’t even there…) and the fact that he had not been allowed to go out with his friends since he was also shod that morning. Both are things that I expect him to work with. I don’t normally ride in a flash for dressage but if I do, I don’t want a tantrum.
But new trainer soon had him moving forward lightly in the contact and looking like a dressage horse. For the most part. He was extremely reactive to her spurs, using them as excuses get out of hard work but she just pushed him through it.
It was great for me to be there and see her thought process while she worked him. I’m impressed enough with people who can ride the ride and get results. I’m equally impressed enough with people who can explain to you what should be going on. So I’m doubly impressed that new trainer could do both at the same time.
The big thing that she stressed with me is that there are certain concepts, for example, accepting contact in the reins, that need to be a hard line in the sand. When he goes into giraffe mode, I need to immediately correct with my inside leg, seat bone, and rein. This is not a concept that is new to him so we (aka, me) are going to expect that of him.
He’s so bad with this that new trainer actually wants me to find time when I can just work on taking him from a loose on the buckle rein to connection over and over and over again. Basically for as long as it takes for Gus to get the message that starting work does not mean he tosses his head in the air.
By the end, Gus was looking like a real dressage horse. Okay, it was actually much more towards the beginning the end of the ride, but whatevs. I also felt like I got a lot out of it and will be able to use some of her exercises myself once I get back on. These next few weeks will be really rough for me so new trainer will be hoping on Gus again on Wednesday. Hopefully he gets another productive ride!