March 1, 2013

Cob Jockey as The Fonz

Welcome to another edition of "What I think I must look like when my trainer tells me to do something ridiculous vs. What I actually look like when my trainer tells me to do something ridiculous."

She said: "You're still heavy in the left rein. You're drawing back on it and keeping it too close to his neck so he falls to the outside and feels like he has nowhere else to go.  We're going to take away your ability to brace against him by over-exaggerating what you should be doing.  I want you to keep your elbow close and deep by being relaxed through your shoulders, take your forearm up and away from your body, turn your thumb up and out and keep the rein up and away from his shoulder.  Hands should not go down to bring his head down, but you should feel the upper corners of his mouth instead."

What I was pretty sure I looked like:

What I probably actually looked like:

Because this disabled my ability to overuse the left rein, he was able to go perfectly straight.  Because he was able to go perfectly straight, he softened and started working through his back.  Because he was soft and working through his back, we got some great transitions.  Hm...

Last night's lesson was all about things I'm doing that are killing Connor and I.  In addition to the left hand thing, she covered:

- Hips should move both forward and up while posting the trot, it should feel like my hip is going to touch the inside of my wrist.  While that is going on, my torso should be still.
- My lower leg pivots at the knee while posting, and I am consciously or unconsciously bumping him with each stride, so he tunes me out.  This mostly applies to the left leg.  She had me go around in a two point and use my stick instead of my leg if I felt him losing steam.  This was especially important last night as he had zero impulsion.  I have been instructed to do some warmup at all three gaits in two-point and focus on letting my ankles absorb the concussion.

It made a big difference.  Now to internalize it so my saint of a trainer doesn't have to repeat herself every two strides...


  1. Thanks for the elaborate description of her instruction! I do the same thing, so I'm definitely going to try that tonight when I ride.

  2. I can totally relate. Love the recount.

  3. Great re-cap and all things I need to work on, too!