February 7, 2013


"He's so sensitive now that you need to start giving more refined aids."

Usually nothing gets into my blank-slate headspace of sensory input and unconscious reaction that I go into while riding, but I felt a conscious rush when I heard my trainer say those words during my lesson tonight.  I've felt it, sure.  Things that used to be battles, like turns on the forehand, flow like water now, and with the tiniest of aids.  But I still talk too loudly when a whisper would work.  And I never would have learned what it meant to whisper if I didn't learn how to yell in order to get a response when he was bullying me last fall.

I swear, if we get an early spring, I will bodyclip his furry body so fast, he won't even remember he ever had a winter coat.

During the turns on the forehand I heard "You're using the outside rein wrong, don't bring it back like that, just a little touch and then release.  Let his head and neck stretch a bit."  I heard that a lot, as we're still in the process of introducing lengthenings, and she taught me that in order to lengthen his stride, I've got to let go of his head and let his throatlatch open up, because he can't physically get his legs out in front of him if I'm keeping him too bottled up.  At other points in the lesson, she had me carry my inside hand up and away from his shoulder, and keep my wayward left hand from hovering too close to his neck, causing him to fall onto the right.  There were so many corrections, but all of them made a positive difference.

At the beginning of the lesson I didn't think we'd get anything done, with his focus elsewhere as three other horses were in the arena along with two spectators, but my trainer patiently worked us through exercises tailored for the distracted pony, and though it took us longer than usual, we got there.  It feels good to know that even when he's heavy in my hands, I am capable of fixing it - with guidance, of course, but it's not hopeless.  By the time the arena cleared, we were really getting some work done.

Tonight I learned that our pseudo-resident clinician CJF is coming back in late March, and I am ecstatic to have an opportunity to ride with her again now that I am able to turn Connor left.  Right after that we've got another equally exciting engagement, but that's something for another post.  2013 is going to be our year!


  1. Wow, sometimes it is like you are writing about Comrade.
    He lets me know when I get too loud.

    When do we get to see some video?

  2. You sound so happy & positive! Yeah, I think 2013 is going to be your year alright... maybe 2014 too - who knows!

  3. Nicole, it really is amazing how similar they are, and I guess they should be as full brothers. Someday we need to get the two of them together. It's funny that you mention video, there is a good solution coming to that very soon!

    Thanks, Martine! I am looking forward to this season so much I can't think about 2014 yet, but fingers crossed, it should be even better.

  4. I am with you on the body clip! If I would have had a pair of clippers last night...

    Super progress Jen!