Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New trainer...yay or neigh?

The new potential trainer/instructor made the drive out to the farm last night. He was polite and seemed to know a lot from what I could decipher from his accent.

I did my research on him before coming, the little that I could find. I dont want to share too much to keep his identity safe, but he is fairly new to the US (which I knew) so does not have many clients yet or any prospects. His background is in jumpers and eventing at the 1* level...which I did find records on.

So not quite as experienced as the other few trainers I have used and he is the youngest (not by much). BUT age and experience, while they do mean more wisdom, does not always mean they are good at sharing and teaching that wisdom.

He said all the same things about Tillie that I have been hearing from all the other trainers. The top ones that stood out:

  1. She needs to soften her back more
  2. Her lateral movements are shockingly amazing and nimble
  3. She needs to use her hind end more  
He rode her first so I could see his style....and because this person or whoever my next trainer will be, will potentially help me with a training rides here or there like D does. Right away I noticed how much Tillie did not seem to mind him. New riders to her are usually like fresh meat...she tail swishes and squeals and threatens all sorts of non-sense before settling in to work. 

Tillie did none of those things and seemed pleased to work. Her ears were listening and floppy at times and you could see the wheels turning in her head as he rode her around. 

He did a lot of counter bending, asking for bigger steps then "shhhhing" her and asking for slower steps. He played around with some shoulder in too. 

They trotted A LOT. He seemed to have the same approach as C in getting her going before asking to connect. He worked with her on her wanting to brace through the changing rein when changing from tracking right to left. I like what I saw when he would put his inside hand forward giving her a floppy rain for few strides and pat her before picking it up again...something I am really bad about doing.

They then moved on to schooling canter transitions. He said she needs to be better about sitting when going into them and make it clearer rather then the few quick trot steps before leading into the canter. He also instigated a more forward canter to attempt to get her excited (since I mentioned this was an issue) and then correct it by using his seat. 

 He was quite impressed at the walk and trot how responsive she was to the seat for transitioning and said she just needs that same level at the canter. He then was trying to get her to stretch more at the trot, but she just didnt relax enough in her back to allow for that. I heard him using his voice and "shhhing" her a lot which I thought was cool.

He then had me get on to try to recreate the canter transitions he just schooled. So it was a little bit of a taste for what a lesson would be like. Immediately when I got on, I notices how much more in the reins Tillie felt. It's hard to say if it was a good feeling or bad, it just felt like I had a lot more there...usually the contact is so light so sometimes its hard to make that half halt with her. 

He gave me some homework to do - which I always love homework! I need to be able to recreate the lesson without my trainer there to a certain extent. He suggested lots of random ground poles to randomly work over them to help "surprise" Tillie and ride through that to promote getting her relaxed...Also raise caveletti in trot work to build strength. 

When jumping she recommended only using placement poles. 

So here is their first few rounds of trotting...so she wasnt quite as relaxed here. But I look forward to hearing anyone's thoughts and open to suggestions on other local trainers. 


  1. Connection in the bridle is such a personal preference thing. I don't mind if I have a lot of contact through the bridle as long as its not leaning or heavy. Anyways the new trainer sounds pretty interesting!

    1. My other trainer has said that as well...I think I would prefer a medium between what I felt after this new trainer rode and what I normally feel.