November 23, 2020

Lesson Wrap-Up: We Both Ride

I was supposed to have more or less back-to-back lessons on Connor last weekend, with one on Friday and one on Sunday, BUT on Saturday our roommate called to let us know he had taken an "exit" COVID test for school even though he had no symptoms at all, and tested positive, so we are now quarantining until Dec 2.

It is the most first world of first world problems to say that the only thing I'm upset about is that I'm going to miss riding and lessons, but I think you'll understand when you see how Friday's lesson went. Connor is educated to the point that every lesson, I'm learning in leaps and bounds and I'm so bummed to have to pause that!

On Friday, she asked to get on him first to "show me where he's at", and I had a hard time keeping my jaw off of the floor watching them go. Since mid-September, just over two months ago, she's taken him from being a maybe First Level horse with an incorrect understanding of collection to where all the pieces for 3-1 are passably there.

Full disclosure, her standards for someone being ready for the level are pretty high, so I'm not saying she WOULD show him 3-1 tomorrow, but she COULD.

I got on after her, and I'm going to put the two GIFs of both of us doing the same things on him to show you how differently he goes for her vs me. Not to throw myself under the bus, but to show the difference between a skilled rider that remembers to half halt and me, lol.

Even just warming up, he's a different horse. Look at how different his neck shape is, how the top of his neck is longer than the bottom:

Her warmup walk

My, uh, "just got on" walk

She's militant about never letting him get stiff in the bridle, and told me that "95% of the time, if he feels stiff, the right answer will be to apply the right leg and right rein and hold until he softens". She also said "It means something to him if you close your legs and then briefly close your hands now, put him together." Hello yes these are the kind of first toolkit adult amateur slow learner instructions I am here 👏 for 👏. 

I know the medium trots below aren't scoring an 8, but WOW you guys, the feeling of closing my legs and having INSTANT POWER is something I am not used to. This required a whole other level of core engagement to stay with him. 

Her medium trot

My medium trot, where you can see my abs just completely peace out in the middle from the unexpected force of holding him together

You can really see the difference in her canter vs mine. Mine has less energy (although this WAS 40 minutes into the ride) and the balance isn't nearly as good. Those two phrases could sum up the major differences between our riding in all gaits and movements. I'm not upset about it though, having a horse that I know understands how to go well means I just have to learn how to ride him well, I no longer have the responsibility of also teaching him to go well.

Her collected canter

My collected canter

She didn't intentionally show me any flying changes, but she did attempt a canter half pass (she hasn't done many with him and warned me it was a work in progress) and he gave her a change as a wrong answer. I think it's pretty cool that he knows what a change is well enough to be willing to see if it's the right answer to an ask he doesn't quite understand yet.

She also did a few things I didn't get to do but was happy to see, such as this extremely balanced counter canter. No more motorcycling and hanging on for dear life! 🙌

I did get to do shoulder-in but the Pivo missed it, so you'll just have to watch this clip of CGP and trust me when I say it is so accessible and easy now, it's kind of amazing. No more struggling to manufacture a S-I that's mostly neck bend for me!

I was just on cloud nine. More to come.


  1. Wow! I’m so excited for you!

  2. "When the student is ready - the teacher will appear..."
    You guys are looking great!

  3. Ugh, I'm so sorry about the covid exposure. That really blows especially right now! But you guys looks amazing and I'm sure you'll pick up right where you left off.

  4. While having to step back due to the positive test sucks, your horse is just WOW in his progress and I'm sure that you will leap frog ahead like you never missed a beat when you get back.