I’ve had this idea for the past couple of weeks but finally decided that I was curious enough to make it into a blog hop.
Basically, I’m curious what role your trainer/instructor plays in the partnership between you and your horse. I’m not talking about unicorns and the Black Stallion here, just good common sense instruction on how you work with and ride your horse beyond the technical aspects of dressage. Is it something they feel strongly about either way or something that they just don’t work with at all?
My experiences have been very interestingly different. When I started with J (not Jane, past instructor who I dislike) I was surprised at the amount of animosity that she approached riding and coaching with. Anytime the horse wasn’t immediately doing what the rider asked it was “giving them the middle hoof” and was being uncompliant. She used a lot of force and even when I would specifically tell her that I thought something was just physically or mentally tough for Katai or that Katai didn’t understand something she would brush it off and say that my pony did understand and just wasn’t listening.
Then I worked with L who had very similar feelings about that relationship/partnership that I do. At first she made a big impact because I was coming from J’s antagonistic approach but ultimately both L and I were kind and fair but removed from really engaging in that partnership. Both of us have lost animals, and in her case people, that we were very close to and I think it made it tougher for us to really connect and come at this topic from a loving place. Instead it was more of a kind, fair, but casual sort of feeling which is how I’d initially worked with Katai and my past horses.
Now with Jane that’s completely different. She is working a lot with me on the technical pieces but I feel like some of the work she’s doing with me that’s had the biggest impact is on my partnership with Katai and how I function in that partnership. Jane has been doing this for a long time and owned and trained a lot of horses but it doesn’t feel like she treats this like her job. While she’s extremely professional about it, she also acts more like a coach, or as my friend says about her instructor, she’s my Yoda. Everything from the terms that she uses, to the way that she teaches and how she expects me to make changes with Katai is different and I’m learning so much. She uses terms like “hug” when she refers to leg contact, or tells me to take time to get her flexed correctly on the side where it’s tougher for Katai. She also LOVES mares which is nice since I also love them but I’m realizing that I don’t always know the best way to train/ride them.
I can’t believe how much this has all impacted Katai and the way she is to ride. She’s gone from tense and dramatic to loose, stretchy, relaxed and thinking in the time between when I ended with J and now but the biggest change has been in the past month. It’s been an interesting and amazing journey and I can’t wait to see where we are in the next couple of years!
So, how does your current (or past) trainer manage the partnership/relationship between you and your horse(s)?