Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Get it done!

I look two lessons with a new trainer yesterday, and I found her absolutely delightful.

I also haven't sweat that much since... I can't even remember. Maybe the last time I did Bikram Yoga. It was pooling in the crook of my elbow and dripping down my forearm which was SUPER distracting.

I took extensive notes after the lessons and had meant to type them up for y'all but then I left the notes at the farm, so we'll go from memory.


  1. When Tango leans on me, I have to leg yield through it rather than half-halt or do a transition because it's more important for him to improve his lateral balance at the moment than for it to be pretty
  2. If he doesn't move his rib cage over the second I ask, I have to get after him for it rather than letting him take his sweet time to figure it out
  3. I need to ask for about 1000% more suppleness during transitions by being absolutely certain he's bending his body and even asking for the transitions out of a leg yield or shoulder-fore
  4. I have to keep him WAY more forward than I have been because "we aren't practicing for the western classes here, are we?"
  5. My primary homework with him is to get him really bending properly at first, and then work towards getting really good, very supple three loop serpentines. Because we can totally trot that pattern, but he comes above the bit sometimes during the change of direction and when he stays on the bit he doesn't bend as much as JM wants me to get him to bend.
  6. I also need to change his saddles out because the one I've been using apparently doesn't fit at all. I really thought it did, which is why I'm a bit perplexed. But I will trust trainer and fiddle about with other tack until I find something better. 
  1. I can't let her change me. When I feel her get tense, I cannot pull my legs off her and sort of wait for her to settle down. She needs to accept my aids. This means a lot more sideways work than I've been doing. I felt like I spent the whole hour trying to send her off on leg yield after leg yield.
  2. Particularly in the warm up, I should walk a lot more rather than going straight to doing my transitions. And not what Kat's tricked me into, which is a walk on a long rein for a few minutes, then gathering her up and going straight to our transitions. I need to ask her to bend, and relax to my leg, all without her little jog/jig thing. 
  3. When she goes to rear, I've been bending her first one way and then the other, but JM wants me to bend her one way and put my leg on her until she crosses her hindquarters over. 
  4. My primary homework with Kat is to get her out of the arena. I need to get her to accept my inside leg and outside rein in the arena, and out on the road, and on the trails, and... etc etc etc. Basically JM thinks that Kat's spending too much time asking "WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!?!?!?!" and not enough time listening to what I'm telling her. Good bend & accepting my aids will help her to listen to me. 
  1. I need to sit up, sit back, and tuck my pelvis under more. And then hold it. Keep my core engaged, and sit up and in a place of power. I'm allowed to half-seat for jumping, but basically if I do that I don't get to put my butt in the saddle at all. She wants me to practice every time I touch the saddle, I sit up, back, and in what needs to be my "home" position. I felt like I was leaning backwards. I need photographic evidence because she says that I was "just barely upright"
  2. My elbows need to stay next to my rib cage
  3. I need to stop this very bizarre habit of bringing my hand across my belly when someone says "MORE BEND SERIOUSLY" to me. Like, what even?
  4. I need to stretch my hips more because the length of stirrup I apparently should be riding in feels about a foot longer than comfortable for me.
  5. I also have been assigned a lot of sitting trot. (Dear god why.)
  6. I need to come out of the barn with a plan, and then ride the plan. She wants me to sort of ignore the horse I'm dealing with and just keep worming my way towards the plan. The plan with Kat is that she can walk and trot and canter in a long and low frame. And that's it at the moment. The plan with Tango is that he goes where I navigate him with proper bend at all times, and that he goes in a properly light 1st level frame all the time. He needs to build muscle and I give him too many breaks. 
This lady is super funny. She not only coached me through a lot of (admittedly basics but man I really needed it) stuff but she kept me laughing while doing it. And then telling me to focus because I was laughing. She used the little headset to talk to me while riding and my absolute favorite moment came while I was riding Tango. 

"Bend right. Bend right. Bend right. Kate, GET IT DONE WHEN I SAY SO!" 

I've never had a trainer watch me not do what they were asking and then call me on it. Usually trainers wait for me to gather myself, or repeat the command thirty seconds later, or something. 

I thoroughly enjoyed it! 

In non-block of text news, we got a new pony on Sunday. Her name is Gingersnap.

She's a 7 year old Connemara pony for a kid that just turned 9. 

Right now she pretty much only has a walk/trot in her, so she's in training until she can jump things safely with a kid aboard. 

She has the super cutest ears. 

And she's very sweet.

And I adore ponies. 


  1. what an awesome lesson - i LOVE trainers that can keep it real and keep us riders accountable, but that also make it fun and an enjoyable challenge. glad you liked it - good luck working on that list!

    1. I'm so bloody excited for my next lessons - this list might take me a long, long time to work through though!