|ERMEGERD BEBEH MARE|
One of my (many) favorite things about ZB is that she's pretty damn resilient. With Courage, I had a strict protocol for how many times I had to see a trainer work with horses EXACTLY LIKE HIM before I'd even consider riding with them and since most sane people don't ride horses like him, well, it got complicated.
But with Zoe? I found out a barn friend was organizing a clinic with a trainer I'd heard of but never ridden with and I was like "hey cool sign us up!" because I knew that hey, whatever happened, ZB would be fine.
Plus I definitely need lessons.
|had to get an outfit shot|
Anywhoodle. I'd never met this trainer before, but she got out of the car like OMFG I NEED THAT OUTFIT FOR MY HORSE so I figured we'd get along.
Actually she was like "this horse is not a super baby. She can go to work." And then expected me to like ride and shit? Pro tip: riding is hard. Especially if all you do is toodle and goof off and you are a lazy ammy.
We took a lot of LOOOOOOONG walk breaks and yeah they were a lot more for me than for ZB. (Thanks to trainer for getting ZB in shape and trained and stuff!)
Really important takeaways for me:
1) Because of her conformation, it is WAY more important to get ZB up in front and then come onto the bit vs pulling her head down to the bit. This is feedback I have gotten from every single professional who has laid eyes on her, but it's always worth reiterating.
2) Because of her disposition, it's VERY important to put LEG ON for a correction and then take LEG OFF to immediately reward. She's not a hot horse, so she needs to be sensitized to the leg. This is not rocket science, but since she's also my first not-hot horse, it's a different way to ride.
3) Effective position matters--ZB is such a different shape to sit on that my lower leg likes to just creep waaaaay back, which tips my upper body forward, which throws me out of balance. Nope. Leg at the girth. Toes forward. This engages my seat bones and keeps me balanced and actually makes a big difference.
4) Take the time to be correct--when Zoe leans in, I like to steer her out with the outside rein for an immediate correction. It takes a couple strides longer, but she is educated enough now to ask her to step out with my inside leg/seatbone (especially now that my seat bone is engaged thanks to #3).
5) The seat is an aid. This is a funny one for me--I used to have kind of a hot seat, so when I was riding hot jumpers, I spent a lot of time training myself to remove my seat from the equation or letting it be neutral. Now I'm riding a not-hot horse and the seat is an aid, so it's time to learn to use it correctly.
By the end of the lesson, I definitely thought I would die of exhaustion. However. I went in needing feedback on how to ride my baby mare and that's exactly what I got.
Can't wait for next time!