Lesson Wrap Up: Guest Lesson at Pleasant Heights Stables

I'm back!

Sorry for all the unanswered comments.  I have been staying in a renovated 18th century barn in rural northern Indiana with the college friends for the past five days, but I'm home now.  And desperately trying to kick a combination New Years' Day alcohol hangover and accidental wheat exposure hangover before my riding lesson in 3 hours.  #reallife  #whathaveidone

Totally sweet vacation home.  That's a lookout tower on top!

I always look for places to ride while on vacation and normally never find them, but this time, I struck gold.

Pleasant Heights Stables was a 20 minute drive from the cabin, so I signed Austen and I up for a one-off lesson with their head trainer, Jill.  Jill is an East coast transplant and a British Horse Society accredited instructor with a very impressive resume, especially for being about our age.  She's worked with some incredible people across eventing and hunters both.

She is fairly new to the facility, and apologized about our lesson horse choices: "An older Thoroughbred that can be a handful" and "a large pony that rides like a horse."  I laughed out loud and told her there was no need to apologize, because if you know Austen and I and our horses, you know that they couldn't possibly have been more perfect for us.

We signed up for the lesson just for something to do, but I ended up getting a lot out of that lesson.  Mickey, my pony, was a point and shoot sort of fellow, honest as can be, and really takes you to the fences once he gets going.  I haven't jumped much except for Connor, and my equitation was miserable - which was great when riding with someone like Jill, who believes that AA hunter level equitation and good biomechanics can benefit any rider in any discipline.

My solid citizen, Mickey, on the left at a Halloween costume contest a couple of months ago.

She worked with me a lot on just putting my leg on him and leaving it there, supporting him, but not moving it.  It was hard for me.  She said she could tell what Connor's jumping style is like based on the way I was riding.  I had a hard time following Mickey, and a hard time closing my hip angle, until I relaxed and just let him jump the fence under me.

The last few fences felt so much better, it makes me want to take Mickey home.  A month straight on a horse that consistent would do a lot for my lower leg and position.  At any rate, it was really nice to feel like I made some riding progress even while away from my horse!

Austen can tell her side of the lesson, but let me just say her years of doing Dressage work have left her with an excellent jumping seat. She pretty much kicked ass and looked amazing doing it the entire lesson!  We both had a lot of fun, and I can definitely recommend the trainer and the facility.


  1. Taking a lesson while on vacation is actually really brilliant.

    1. Some trainers won't take you for just one lesson, so it can go either way, but this turned out great. Like a clinic on a strange horse, basically.

  2. Sounds like a super awesome lesson! Did Mickey fit in your suitcase? ;)

  3. Aw crap. Now I have to stop laying around being sick and actually write! ;)

    1. Hey, if I can lay around hung over and write, you can lay around sick and write.

  4. Great that you get out and lesson with other people! I need to do that more.

  5. What an awesome way to spend a vacation!

  6. sounds like that lesson worked out really well for you - and very cool that the trainer was willing to give you a totally legit lesson even tho she knew it was a one-off thing. i would have worried that the trainer wouldn't have been seriously invested in it, but sounds like you got your moneys worth!!


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