I ran by Michaella's at the Circle M Ranch today to pick up my Garmin and hung around most of the day watching someone else have a lesson. It was like having a lesson with absolutely none of the anxiety that a lesson provokes in me. As a kid in school being in front of the class would turn my stomach to jello and break me out in a sweat. I was a good student, I was not good at being put on the spot. My brain would freeze up...and at some point, anxiety would set in. If put in that position and asked my last name, well---I really might not be able to dredge it loose from my chemically stalled brain. What I found today as I watched the other person having "my" next lesson was that without the actual stress of having to do the thing, I picked up some stuff that I was doing, but could do a bit better. Such as timing of release on rein, and when a horse is "truly" disengaged vs. sort of disengaged. I envy Michaella's big horse farm, but I do not envy the magnitude and energy of working that many horses! WOW. Today she had a Kentucky Mountain Horse, and two thoroughbreds to work. The KMH was amazing to watch under her hands. In no time it seemed she had the gelding giving softly to the bit and moving in a very nice frame. I had to leave after the initial despooking of the thoroughbred.
My take away from auditing the lesson today:
Training never stops. You will be training your horse on some level every time you handle them. You are either teaching the right thing, or you are allowing/thus teaching the wrong thing. What do you want to teach?
To get what you want from a horse requires a lot of knowledge, time, and diligence. A horse that performs flawlessly today may again test his boundaries and your leadership tomorrow. You must work hard (and often) to maintain stasis. To get a spectacular result from your horse you have to be very much in the moment, cognizant of every hoof beat, head toss, or give to pressure. I guess the easiest way to explain it is you can't be a passenger as most of us really are...only when you get that total focus will you begin to see results.
I needed today. It made me feel much better about Journey, and more realistic as to my expectations of her. Things are not going to change at the pace that I want them to, she will change on her own learning curve. My job is to stay at it, and stay focused. ~ E.G.
Favorite Links for training, gear, and memberships!
- National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering
- HOW TO CMO
- What is CMO?
- Old Dominion Endurance Rides
- Renegade Hoof Boots
- Riding vs. Racing a discussion with the Duck.
- Trumbull Mountain's INTRO TO ENDURANCE RIDING
- Principles of Conditioning
- Conditioning the endurance horse by SERA
- Short Article: Feeding & Training the Endurance Horse
- Feeding the Endurance Horse, Swedish Author
- Preventing Dehydration In the Endurance Horse, Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association
- Jim Holland's fantastic training links here!
- South Eastern Distance Rider's Association