Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Pepper is doing quite well in my eyes. She's steering much better, she's pretty light off the leg, and she's cantering on both leads. She has a tendency to pop her shoulders out on circles though, so I spent some time this past week introducing the idea of the indirect rein. I'm not trying to get her so light that I can neck-rein, merely giving myself another tool to put her shoulders back on the line.

The trainer I'm partnered with while training Pepper requested that I soften my focus on the indirect rein and instead continue to refine her forward aids, try to soften her ribcage and poll a bit more, and work on an obedient response to the direct rein. Mostly because she believes that the indirect rein is advanced work, so we need to focus on the basics.

I was rankled. "She doesn't respect me!" I thought. "She's being so condescending, ugh!" I thought.

Then the nicer, wiser part of myself says, "hey, would she have picked you to help her out with this project if she didn't respect you?"

To which the peeved side says, "but instead of talking to me about it she just texts me! She doesn't trust my judgement!"

Then the nice part steps in once again and says, "You believe in your methods. She believes in hers."

Ohmygod the nice part of me is so right! How do I open a dialog about this without sounding to her as if I'm trying to ignore her advice, or be disrespectful?

I'd think it'd be as easy as, "hey, I disagree. I think that the indirect rein is half of steering, and steering is pretty basic." But the more I thought about it the more I realized that her messages to me were phrased in a pretty delicate way, all things considered. After all, Pepper is her client's horse, and I'm just kinda helping out. The horse should be trained in the method the trainer wants, as that trainer was the one hired.

Anyhow. Has anyone else noticed this in the horse world? This almost violent defensiveness over weirdly small things? I was thinking that maybe it's because I spend a lot of time explaining my logic to clients and I just don't want to have to defend myself, but maybe it's not. My curiosity is piqued over the whole thing. 


  1. yea i definitely know what you mean, and 'violent defensiveness' is a pretty apt description... tho i've been pegged as thin-skinned since 8th grade, so maybe i thought it was just me haha! i try to follow the 5-second rule and give myself a little time to respond, rather than spitting out the first thing that comes to mind... it's tuff tho!

  2. Ugh working with other trainers on things can be frustrating. Everyone rides differently based on their own experiences and there are all sorts of roads that lead to Rome. That being said, I don't use an indirect rein ever and kind of just let young horses careen a bit- I know that the lack of control bothers some people a lot. Horses eventually steer and I want them to understand direct rein and connection without the confusion of neck reining (plus we never neck rein in dressage so I don't ever teach it). But to each their own! Except when working alongside someone, ugh miserable.