For one I used to keep a journal of my lessons. Making notes on what we did and how the students are progressing. Prior to my TBI, I could do the lessons and then come inside and write in the journal. Now, I can’t remember by the time I get inside exactly what happened, especially when I sit with pen and paper and try to write it down. I’m tired after lessons and now since I can’t remember I have fallen out of the happen of taking these notes.
The solution I’m trying right now, is taking quick notes after lessons that will hopefully spark my memory when I come back inside at the end of the night.
So reading my lesson notes might seem pretty boring! I get that. But for those who are serious on their horsemanship journey and really looking to improve, maybe you can learn something. Maybe pick up an exercise that might help you and your horse.
This is one of my favorite lessons of the week. Two of more of my advanced riders. Not to mention, my ride-or-dies( the barn and lesson program wouldn’t run without them!
They alternate between a jumping lesson and a dressage lesson each week. Yesterday was a jumping day. Maggi and Tic Toc and Amelia on cool.
They always text me to ask me what jumps I want set up( lucky I know, a trainer that doesn’t have to arrange jump courses!) I just told them to set up whatever jumps they wanted. Just set them up so that their will be a variety of different courses we could make from them.
They warmed up nicely, and then it was time to jump. They all did well with the courses we made up. Cool had a few issues with getting his lead, but that is something we have been working on.
With Tic-Toc we are continuing to work on getting him off the forehand and he is getting more and more balanced and comfortable over the jumps. He did have a bit of an issue with one jump on the diagonal. It was just too tempting for him not to run out toward the barn, and Maggi had to really get after him. Once she got him straight he jumped it beautifully and even landed on the correct lead!
They also did a little practice cross country. Jumping a little in the ring and then out the gate around the property and then back in the ring again for a few more jumps. I think it was a good introduction to riding out of the ring, that they just cantered outside the arena and kept the jumps inside the fence. This way they can get more comfortable with their horses more forward pace outside of the ring without adding nerves about jumps!
This lesson was really fun! One of the parents of a student. Their family owns a horse and she decided to take a lesson herself, which I thought was awesome! She has ridden before kids and family, so not a total beginner.
We mostly walked and worked on the shape of circles and keeping him paying attention. He tends to be a little scatter brained!
Of course, we worked on proper position, straight line from shoulder to hip to heel. As well, as straight line from bit to hand to elbow. I think by the end of the lesson she realized how much of a difference a proper seat in the saddle and contact with the horses mouth gives you balance and control. Balance and control, one of the most important basics of riding. So it was a win there!
I was also really happy that after practicing posting at the walk she was confident enough to try a little trot on the lunge line! She started off super nervous and ended the lesson feeling confident and proud of herself. That is mission accomplished for me!
Christina and Ruby! They have been working on the basics of dressage for a while now. Christina is participating in the ever so popular “no stirrup November”. So there were no stirrups on her dressage saddle for the lesson!
Ruby started out pretty focused, which is un usual for her. Ruby knows how to soften and carry herself correctly on the bit. Not that she always does it easily but she knows how!
The main reason we have trouble getting it consistently is that it has been hard getting Ruby to move at a more forward tempo. Yesterday, Ruby was awesome as far as keeping a forward tempo and staying nice and round.
Christina is working on making sure she relaxes her hips so she can move with Ruby and use her seat bones more effectively. As far as her leg goes, Ruby is a smaller mare and doesn’t offer a ton of body for Christina to keep her leg on. This sometimes leads to her using just her heels as she pulls her leg up to reach Ruby’s body. This, of course, calls all kinds of problems. For one Ruby gets grumpy about the bump, bump, bump she feels. It also causes Christina to roll forward on her pelvis and hips, which causes her to tighten her hips, and then that causes bouncing. Not to mention any time your legs go back your body is going to tend to go forward.
Overall, this lesson was one of the best this pair has had in a while! Ruby stayed consistently forward. When she wasn’t soft and round, she listened to corrections quickly and came back together quickly. Christina and I both were super happy with the improvement and thought it was one of the best lessons in a while!
This lesson was a a walk, trot beginning canter lesson. With one of my students. Riding one of our lesson horses, Magic.
Magic is known for being lazy and a lesson with her you know you are going to have to work hard to get her moving forward.
We started with a nice warm up. With my walk, trot beginner canter students, I like to do a walk trot warm up. One that we switch from posting ,sitting and two-point. Perfecting all these skills is super important. It is a great way to warm up the rider and horse. I also like it because switching back and fourth makes it a good opportunity to make sure the students knows their diagonals.
When it came time to canter, Magic was super obstinate. Even a swat with the whip behind her leg didn’t seem to make Magic willing to break into canter.
So I decided to break out an exercise I have used for a while. I learned it while riding green horses but it has it’s place in the lesson program too. When a horse doesn’t want to canter, pushing it to trot forward, forward, forward , eventually canter will be easier than trotting like a crazy foul. With young horses I like to do it because if they are going to do anything bratty, like buck. They will normally do it during this fast trot, so you know to be prepared at the canter.
Obviously, running into the canter is not what we want. We want prompt trot to canter transitions. This is a great exercise that helps with the lazy lesson horses that just don’t want to go. Not to mention, normally, after they have done this a couple times they realize they have to listen and then you can get smooth and prompt transitions. Even on a grumpy old lesson horse!
This was a great lesson for this rider because she hasn’t been cantering all that long. So it’s still sort of a big deal to her. She also isn’t an overly assertive rider. During this lesson I believe she had a lightbulb moment where she realized she could be assertive and still be safe and comfortable on the horse.
Anytime there is a lightbulb moment, it’s a win for me!
Starting Off The Week Right!
Monday doesn’t always start the week off right. Yesterday, was a great start to the week!