July 12, 2021

Unmounted "Lesson"

On Friday I went over and picked up my best boy.

I was supposed to have a lesson but spaced it on the start time, and ended up asking if I could use my lesson time to chat with CGP instead. I don't mind paying her for her time to talk shop with me and answer my questions, I think that's a very valid use of my money and shows respect for her time and opinions as a professional that I don't think she should just teach me for free, even if the teaching doesn't occur while I'm on a horse.

Connor's buddy Hector was v excited that Connor came home

Some notable thoughts from her, paraphrased:

  • One of the reasons she's so excited about where he's at right now is that he stays where she puts him. She asks for a collected canter, he stays in collected canter without picking at him every stride. "We can start to do a lot now."
  • She absolutely thinks skipping Regionals to start working on Third is the right choice. Without saying it like this, she intimated that we wouldn't be super competitive at Regionals/Finals anyway, and it makes a lot more sense to consider Pony Cup the highlight of this particular season and then start work on Third after Lamplight.
  • On entering shows: "Definitely roughly one show per month and one test per day for him, he's going to get stronger as he goes up the levels but stamina will probably always be an issue."
  • On giving him time off just before he goes to her this fall: "I've found that two weeks off doesn't necessarily give more benefit than one. You might do one week off completely and then one week of just hacking and trail riding."
  • On creating a weekly schedule for a Dressage horse with stamina issues: She likes a 5 day a week schedule with Monday and Friday off. She told me if I'm trying to preserve his stamina (like the week before a show) I might consider keeping the rides short and focusing on one thing, like making one day all about the trot but keeping the ride to 20-25 minutes and avoiding some of the tougher lateral work.
  • On sending Connor over for training: she's happy to take him for long periods of time too, but it was so productive for her to have him for a week or two (I 1000% agree) that we should consider doing it every so often. He saw his favorite bodyworker twice and CGP totally transformed the contact in just a few rides, then solidified it even more the second week. That's worth the price of admission to me. Plus it gets me out of doing stalls - eyyyyyy.


Starting to get some real foreleg extension on the mediums these days!

Afterwards, I took advantage of her empty full court to run through 2-3 by myself, and guys, he felt f***** amazing. I can't even put into words how good it feels to have him come out and just be THERE in the bridle for me. And for him to get pissed off when I pull on him now. You tell me, little buddy!

I thought for a moment that I totally broke the simple changes until I practiced them in the haunches-in-on-a-10m-circle canter from last weekend's lesson, and then, oh, they were right there. It's probably less that I actually need his haunches in, and more that I need my outside leg to be, you know, doing something to prevent him from swinging his haunches out so he can unload the inside hind. #ridingishard


  1. I loooooove this! So many nuggets of wisdom!

  2. Thanks for sharing your journey with all of us. I take away helpful tidbits all the time. I also love the idea of an unmounted lesson. Here is a silly question, what does the abbreviation CGP stand for?

    1. It's just a made up acronym for my trainer

    2. I thought it was for Coach Grand Prix, lol!

  3. Really great wisdom and I'm glad you have someone you can confidently talk shop with - very valuable!