February 17, 2014

Trainer Ride

In the past, my trainer has only gotten on Connor when the wheels are falling off and she can't figure out why.  This time, I asked her to get on him for the opposite reason: because things are going well and she's soon going to be in Florida for 10 days, and I am in over my head in a good way.

"He feels REALLY good.  I mean, he's in true self-carriage right here," she said while leg yielding at the trot.

Due to the cold-weather-related lack of photos, here's a series of photos of us from 2011, before I owned him.

"I know," I said from the ground, "That's why I asked you to get on him.  I'm losing my ability to be critical, I don't know what to correct right now. I know I need to focus on the little things, but all I can think when I'm on him is 'Holy sh*t he feels amazing.'"

She laughed at that.  "It's the little things that will make you good."

The things I noticed:

- He's really tracking up at the walk and trot now.  For a horse with a longish back, this says so much.

Age 5
- The difference in Connor between my riding and her riding used to be depressingly huge.  Now, there are still differences, but they are smaller and less noticeable.

- My favorite: he's so focused and seriously into his job.  His ears were mostly fixed on my trainer, with regular flicks forward.  His eyes were soft, bright, and thoughtful.  He looks like a horse with a job that he understands and enjoys.  You could actually see him thinking about the puzzles presented, and responding to each aid.

The things she noticed:
- The left bend is a problem right now.  I need to focus on where my weight is distributed in the saddle, and to make sure I'm not letting him put more of himself under one seatbone than the other.

- She noticed that he moved her core and ribcage around more than the big horses, and told me I had to focus on being really strong in my core, not just to hold him together in the canter, but to keep him straight and even underneath me.  It was very obvious at the canter, if you compared the videos from last weekend to her riding, that the effect of a strong core made Connor more compressed and underneath himself than I had him in the videos.

- He moves in a straight line now, and the last time she got on him in late summer, he felt like he was going in four directions at once, none of them straight.

Baby's first jump, 2011.
- There's more, but I am so bad at remembering specifics...

The best part was that she was so happy with him.  She thanked me (!), and said that she had a lot of fun on him.  There was much happy chatter about how far he could go with his work ethic, movement and training.  Now to sell some tack and get some entries in - Amy, Heartland is first on the list!


  1. Go Connor go!! It always feels so good when other people get on my horse and actually like her :) haha.

  2. Yaayyyy go Connor! And well done you!! :)

  3. As I've gotten older, I've really come to love watching other people ride... especially my horse! So valuable and rewarding...

  4. Self carriage is like the giant prize of equestrianism that I would really like to find with my horse... good job! :-D

  5. So nice when you have your trainer have a "fun" ride on your horse! What a compliment to all the work you've done in the past year.

  6. Lets have a coby reunion picture!! I'm taking Rhyme and this will be his first show!!! I love it when trainers get on your horse and tell you that your going a good job, just makes you warm and fuzzy

  7. Look forward to seeing you and connor at hrct! Come to the office and say hi! As I am sure I will be stuck in there the entire time. So glad you are having such a productive winter!

  8. Yay excellent lesson report, you gotta go to bed with a smile after that!

  9. Congratulations! What a wonderful feeling to have her thank you for letting her ride him.

  10. how awesome to have such a great progress report!

  11. Have a great time at Heartland!!! I know you and Connor will be amazing :)