September 6, 2022

Kate's Gift

A couple of weeks ago, Kate came to visit. Kate and I have hung out many times at this point, but almost always in California and never at my barn.

We were supposed to go trail riding in the state park, but a slight lameness and a girth gall on my barnmate's horse nixed that plan. Instead, we spent the entire day at the barn. And as much as I wanted Kate to see our amazing trail riding here, I had no idea how much I needed what she ended up giving me until it happened.

She spent the morning doing groundwork, bodywork and just generally speaking horse with my boys in the indoor. I will never forget watching anxious little Connor's eye soften as she made him feel good and he got so completely comfortable with the way she invited him to participate and never forced him.

Disco's groundwork lesson was even more interesting. Most of it was on defining space around herself that he was not allowed to move into, but without even touching the horse in many cases. She also gave me her read on his personality, which is that he does have an angry streak in there, but it should be something I can work with (or avoid) and not against, and if we can help him learn to channel it positively, it will give him brilliance later on. 

He has truly internalized these lessons too - since she left he's a lot more respectful of human space in general and seems to have transferred her lesson to all of us.


But it was the under saddle work that meant most of all. She got on first, and I told her just to enjoy him, she didn't need to feel pressure to make him look good, but she ended up doing both. Standing there watching him go so well for her after being out of work all summer and hearing her infectious laughter as she discovered how enjoyable he is to ride felt so good. More than once she exclaimed, "He's just FUN! I love him!" and threw her arms around his neck.


My motivation to ride, at an all-time low this summer, got just high enough watching her enjoy herself that when she got off and gently coaxed me into the saddle, I could be persuaded. And I am so glad I did.

Disco as his lesson was ending: IDK what just happened but please god never let her come back 😂

She ended up giving me a bite-sized biomechanics lesson. It's not the first time she's given me a lesson, far from it, but it was the first time on my own horse. And quickly she zeroed in on something I will dive into in another post, but it got right to the core of something that causes most of my problems with this horse, that other trainers and coaches and physical therapists had triangulated around but never truly uncovered.

And in that moment, after seeing how much fun my horse was to ride and remembering in the biomechanics discovery why I love Dressage so much, I felt the spark come back. I wanted to ride again. 

Since then, I've pulled his mane for the first time since April, ridden three times, started doing Pilates again, cleaned all of my tack, and just generally felt motivated to do more than just keep my horses alive for the first time in months. And I'm going through a lot right now, and my heart and soul need to be in the saddle more than I can possibly say.

Me and Connor during my lesson with Kate

So Kate, thank you again and publicly for being the incredible horsewoman that you are and for coming to visit, and for giving me the gift of becoming myself in the saddle again 💓 It means absolutely everything.



    1. Get really fuckin' lucky she has family near me, lol

  2. I'm thinking about some of my own 'going-through-a-lot-right-now' seasons and how much those small (or bigger) heart-gifts sustain in-the-middle-of and impact the continuing-with. Thank you for sharing ^^

  3. oh my gosh, what an amazing person! It's incredible how one person can make such a difference in our lives. I love the motivation, I'm so glad you found your joy again! -Courtney

  4. I love this post so much because you both are incredible people <3

  5. Glad to hear that you got some good insights, but even more happy to hear that you had some genuine joy in riding again!!