Emergency Lesson

My lesson last week was just as difficult and unspectacular as the one before.  My trainer diagnosed that after so long of being each other's one-and-only, Connor's exploitation and reinforcement of my bad habits, as well as my giving in his, was causing some serious problems in contact consistency and impulsion that are just holding us back.

It was time for an emergency lesson (my husband joked, "Someone get this woman on a horse, NOW!") on a skilled horse.  Meet Connor's best friend and pasturemate, T:

Swoon.

He's my trainer's imported Lusitano.  I have no idea exactly how far up the levels he's trained, but it's far.  The amount of subtlety and core activity required to ride this horse is incredible.  Every piece of your body means something to this horse, and he listens for and reacts to even the slightest movement.  It's one of the coolest things I've ever felt.

Also an XC machine, in addition to being a kickass Dressage horse.

But that doesn't mean he's easy to ride if you're an adult amateur with body awareness issues like me, which was entirely the point of riding him.

He told all of my positional sins to my trainer like the greatest tattletale that ever lived.  I was being called out on things that I didn't even know were problems.  "He's going to react and reward you when you do things right, and Connor can't do that yet."  She was right.

I couldn't get him on the bit or through for the life of me until we were on a 20m circle going right and my trained told me to push my torso up closer to my left elbow - this was a push in the forward and outside direction.  Turns out, I have an outside shoulder problem that negatively affects the connection.  I also have a turning right problem, a using-my-shoulders-instead-of-my-triceps problem, and a keeping-my-hips-moving-during-lateral-movements problem.  He told on me for everything!

We had only planned on doing the one emergency lesson, but the results were so good (she said I was sitting straighter than ever before at the end) that she wanted to do more.  So Connor is getting some lunge work in the meantime, and I'm developing feel for an educated horse that will help me translate it to him.

Hopefully this pushes us off of our plateau!

Gratuitous photo of my barn mate's baby Husky.

30 comments:

  1. Experienced horses are worth their weight in gold! Lucky you - have fun :)

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  2. Ermahgerhd baby puppy!

    Lessons on experienced horses Are the best.

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    Replies
    1. Isn't she the cutest? Yes they are!

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  3. yay for tattletale ponies. sounds productive - if not a little overwhelming. hope these lessons lead to big breakthroughs with Connor!

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  4. Wow he's lovely!! Being able to just focus on yourself can be really rewarding!

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    1. Yeah, he's amazing. It's a nice feeling, since I haven't ridden anything but Connor in 3 years.

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  5. Experienced horses who are also tattletales are the best! (Well, other than when they aren't making you feel like the worst rider who ever lived.)

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    Replies
    1. Yeeaahhhh...haha. It's a good thing.

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  6. Replies
    1. Oh yeah, has been for a long time.

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  7. Schoolmasters are the BEST, except when they tell on you and point out all your flaws. Sigh.

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    Replies
    1. Sigh indeed. It's an ass kicking I needed, though.

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  8. Oh, sounds like a super lesson! Where are the pictures?

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    Replies
    1. Nobody ever is around during my lessons, or comes with me to lessons, so there probably won't ever be pictures, sadly.

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  9. More experience horses are always SO HARD to ride, but you learn SO MUCH that it's totally worth it.

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    Replies
    1. That's pretty much it! It was hard but I learned a lot, and hopefully will going forward as well.

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  10. Oh wow, that's awesome. What a treat and good learning experience!

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  11. Awesome! Tattletales really help, even though it's so hard when you didn't even know you were wrong. :)

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  12. Lessons on broke horses are amazing. I had one of those moments when I was working for my trainer's sister, any non-straightness in the rider at the canter prompted a lead change. I was changing all over the place!

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    Replies
    1. Wow, I bet that felt ridiculous! But I'm sure you took a lot from it too.

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  13. Cool horse!! That's great you have a horse like him around to figure out things on.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, he's amazing, we're quite lucky to have him (and my trainer, who's the reason he's so great).

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  14. Sounds like a really cool horse.

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  15. Cross country Lusitano- awesome!

    Sitting on a proper school master is SO, so helpful when bringing up a greener horse, for all the reasons you described! Jealous of your amazing opportunity, hopefully you get to repeat it soon!

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