Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ride Well Without a Trainer

My fashion sense is spot-on, though
My downward transitions on Courage are abysmal.

Period, full stop.

His upwards are usually decent as long as I keep him moving forward. It's actually a really funny problem for me, because I've just always had horses that sucked at upward transitions and did nice downwards.

I've tried a couple of different things to try to fix them, and while they maaaaybe aren't as bad, they still pretty much suck. Now I realize that this is a green horse thing and nothing is fixed overnight and all that, but usually I can at least feel like I'm making progress.

Here's the thing with green horses--they don't usually know the "right" answer to any given question, especially if they are a race horse who is just learning about this whole sporthorse thing.

So huge
That's why I've been enjoying some recent opportunities to ride nice, broke horses. I can't take lessons right now and I certainly can't put Courage in training, but I can ride and break down what I'm doing. 

Meet Jasper. He is an absolutely huge warmblood of some sort. He's forward and bendy and supple and ridiculously uphill and totally broke. He put up with my pathetic attempts at dressage, and then we did walk/trot transitions until he was beyond bored.

He didn't need the schooling. I did.

I needed to know that I could still ride a good transition. Check.

I needed to know what elements Jasper brought to the equation that made him more balanced. Check.

I needed to know what I was doing that hindered him in the first place. Check.

We are the best at working on stuff
It's not just his general hugeness and brokeness that make Jasper easy to ride, although those help a lot. He is a forward going horse, so I'm able to change his gait without causing all his energy to go crashing into the sand.

It also helps when I focus on you know, RIDING through the transition, instead of just sort of shutting down and inhibiting him. Think about how I'm using my legs and core, what my posting is saying, what my hands are doing. All that.

I'm back in the irons on Courage today and I'm excited to play with these concepts. I have no illusions of turning him in to Jasper overnight, but I can set him up with more good experiences and start tuning him in to the life of a proper sport horse.


  1. It's amazing how much an experienced, broke to death horse can teach you!

  2. I recently had a similar experience riding a more experienced horse to take some lessons home for my greenie. My more experienced horse is an OTTB with some baggage... Coach said to me, "She is HARD to ride!" (I never even cantered)
    If you don't 'keep her together' she panics. So, I got lots of refinement in 'keeping it together.' I got back on my greenie, and Coach was sudden;y coaching me through shoulder-in instead of coaching me through keeping the canter balanced!
    Keep at it! You're inspiring me!! :)

  3. I've always been impressed with what you and others can do without a trainer. Genuinely impressed. I'm lucky to be able to work off the cost of my lessons, because otherwise I am just stuck all the time.

  4. It makes SUCH a difference to ride a horse who knows the job, especially when we need reminders of what it's supposed to feel like. I'm glad you found such a nice guy to ride and I hope you get to keep practicing on other horses as much as you can. :)

  5. Nothing better than a good schoolmaster sometimes.

  6. Riding a different horse is so great, it can just make things 'click' for your own horse. My pony is also not-super-forward, and I have to think about pulling his back up with my seat during downwards. Maybe that might help you and Courage. :)

  7. Sounds like a really good plan. Looks like you have a nice teacher :0)

  8. Even though I can hear the instructor tell me what to do, even though I can read about what I'm supposed to do, and can watch people do what I'm supposed to do, I find that feeling it makes the most difference in my riding. It's so helpful to experience how it's supposed to go and then take that back to my horse to replicate. It's that "click" that Alli + Dino mentioned

  9. I miss having my deadbroke 'go to' horse. The one I can ride to work on Me, that will ignore my mistakes when they should be ignored or do as I tell them when I am screwing up so that I know I'm screwing up. Those horses are not easily replaced and for good reason. Worth their weight and then some.

  10. Four words-Ride with Your Mind-google it.

  11. Riding a "school horse" type is such a blessing!

  12. Yes. I need to do this too.

  13. Good downward transitions are nothing to sneeze at. Good plan.

  14. Sounds like you've got a good plan going :)

  15. Riding a trained horse makes all the difference in the world! Oh how I wish I knew someone who would let me ride their trained horse so I can remember how to ride lol. It's been seven years since I rode dressage so... yeah... I need help! :) I'm glad you found someone willing to let you ride Jasper. I bet it will be such a huge help.


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