March 31, 2017

Lesson Wrap-Up: Intuition

One of the biggest challenges for me about moving is going to be being without a trainer.  I also think it's going to be a really good thing, as it's going to force me to really take accountability for myself.
Watching a storm roll in on Thursday next to the Dressage ring

I'm still planning on taking weekly lessons with my trainer and hopefully monthly or bi-weekly lessons with my Dressage trainer, but I know it's more likely that schedules won't align now that it will take a haul to get to both of them, so I'm starting to think like I don't have a trainer.

On Wednesday, I had a really great ride on my own.  I started with just walking along the rail, feeling and fixing my own position, and took my time making sure Connor was bending and straight and on my aids.  He responded so well, and we got to play with various trots later in the ride, which was so much fun.
Also on Wednesday, we rode in the CWD, and it must have felt different because Connor practically turned around in the crossties trying to look at it.

On Thursday, my trainer asked me for something challenging earlier in the lesson than I would have liked, before I really got him going like I did on Wednesday.  So I said, "If you give me just a couple of minutes, I think I can fix this."

She agreed, and I put him on a figure 8 of two 15m circles, varying the numbers of circles we did in each direction before changing the bend.  I explained to her the position thing I figured out this week (while sitting on the toilet no less, lol) and how I really focused this week on getting both of us prepared for the work physically before doing something challenging, no matter how long it took.

My recent saddle fitting misadventures make me appreciate how damn perfectly this thing sits on his back even more than I did before.  Mary is a miracle worker.

The rest of the lesson continued like that: me doing what I thought what Connor needed and her providing feedback in the situation.  Her feedback was both tuned for that moment and for what to look for in general in the future.

At the end, she said, "Your intuition for what he needed was great every step of the way tonight," and that meant a ton to me.  There was a time when I would have been terrified at the idea of being on my own, and I'm not saying I don't need instruction anymore, far from it, but I don't feel like the wheels are going to fall off the bus if I miss a lesson.


  1. fwiw, it was kinda a difficult transition for me when i first started with isabel, bc it was the first time that i was totally solo with a horse. we eventually got into the weekly ship-out routine for lessons, which i've carried over to my new horse.

    and honestly? i REALLY like it. i feel way more independent, like i have full ownership, responsibility, and accountability for my horse and my riding. and the lessons take on a new feel - almost like clinics bc the trainer relies on you to update on where things are and how it feels, barring any other opportunity for observation.

    so it's an adjustment for sure... but perhaps a really positive one? good luck!

    1. I definitely think it's going to be a positive move for all the reasons you've mentioned. I'm ready to be responsible for more of my horse ownership and riding - and I'm ready to have the opportunity to do that. Especially when it comes to just seeing him and doing my own blanket changes and stuff like that - things that are not possible when he's 50 minutes away.

    2. yea i know exactly what you mean. sometimes i wish i could board where my trainers are bc the hauling can be exhausting. but... having the horse close to home (and charlie is actually even closer than izzy was by about 10 minutes) really makes such a big difference.

  2. I find that I struggle without regular lessons because I don't have a specific goal in mind. When I have a lesson planned, or a show planned, I ride much better. It can be frustrating to not have your schedules line up so being goal oriented can fill that in a bit.

  3. You will be fine without a consistent trainer! You are more than competent. I usually watch a lot of videos online and then take little tools and use that during sessions. That way I have a plan for my rides at least.

  4. What great timing for that lesson! I do have to say that there is something about needing to take accountability when not riding with a regular weekly lesson that's good for me. A year or so ago when my trainer wasn't able to make it to a few lessons I felt like I did a better job of actively riding and she was very pleased with how we looked when she got back.

  5. I was worried when I first left my trainers but it made me more independent.

  6. Once you get used to it I think you'll embrace it. It stinks when schedules don't line up for hauling out but I find that I'm much more capable emotionally at shows now that I'm flying solo. I still have and need a trainer but I have to be more accountable because unlike when you board somewhere with a trainer no one is there to shout out pointers. Even out of lessons.