November 1, 2012

Best Lesson I've Ever Had...Really.

My trainer's reaction to tonight's lesson: "I really think we can call this a breakthrough, he looks fantastic, he's so between your aids and listening to you.  This is how you get a horse on the bit the right way."

My reaction to tonight's lesson:"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He started out pulling my arms off with explosive forwardness after he got spooked by the assistant trainer riding up behind us, and as my biceps started aching ten minutes in, I thought that there was no way we were going to get anything productive done today. 

 So, my trainer had me break it down to the walk.  Ride a square, ride each corner as a turn on the forehand around the corner, asking the outside shoulder to remain straight as the inside hind steps under.  It was awful at first.  This is a timing and feel exercise, and my timing and feel were all off.  I was also exhausted after getting up at 5:30am for a women's leadership breakfast in Indianapolis, and I actually got to a point where I was so mentally fatigued, I couldn't remember whether we were cuing for turn on the forehand or turn on the haunches, steered him into the wrong movement, and almost came to tears.  We were fighting each other, he was hauling on me, and it was not good.

After that coming to Jesus moment, though, and my trainer explaining that I needed to half-halt when the outside fore was hitting the ground, I suddenly developed magical timing and was able to do the exercise properly.  When I was able to do the exercise properly, with my outside rein and inside leg working in sync, Connor came on the bit.  When Connor came on the bit, we stopped fighting each other.  When all of the above happened, he smoothly performed a perfect partial turn on the forehand at every corner like a champ, and best of all, respected me enough to stop bullying and do what I wanted.

That wasn't even the best part of the lesson.  The best part occurred after that, as a result of that, when we absolutely floated through a trot exercise, and got the best upward transitions I've ever gotten.  She had me continue to think turn on the forehand on a square at the trot to encourage me to use my aids properly.  I cried out and giggled when I felt him lift his back a good 3-4 inches upward during the trot transition. He wasn't hauling on my arms, but he was properly in the bridle, working the bit and seeking it actively.  He wasn't upside down, he was round and really, really lifting his back.  Best of all, it was consistent, even though he really doesn't have the proper muscles to work like that for a long period of time.  It was a true breakthrough. 

I have never wished I had video more than I do right now.


  1. That is fantastic! Congratulations!

  2. Those moments...why we keep at it, right?!

    Best part is, you know that feeling and that it is possible. Worst part is, you know that feeling and feel frustrated when you don't achieve it. Or is that just me?

  3. Omg! It's like we had the same lesson. There is something magic about that inside leg/outside rein connection and I finally felt it yesterday in our lesson and was able to replicate it today on my own for a few strides. Nothing like a good ol' fashioned square.

    So happy for you guys!