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Thursday, 20 October 2011

My Number One Pupil!!!

I'm really pleased with the way Mike's riding is coming on. He's still in single figures when it comes to how many times he's sat on a horse but he sits still and straight (straighter than me I'm ashamed to say!) and his balance is excellent. He's the first person I've taught from scratch and I'm really enjoying it.

Tom, the Irish Cob he's riding, is worth his weight in gold and is giving him bags of confidence. He never does anything unexpected and is so reliable that Mike's hacking him out with me off the lead rein already. We've done a little sitting trotting with me explaining how to absorb the movement and if Mike manages to get the first stride right he sits the trot perfectly, which I'm really impressed with. We haven't tackled rising trot yet.

We both had a Western lesson with David Deptford yesterday and it was brilliant for Mike as the horses are safe as houses and stop immediately if you stick your feet forward and say "whoa". They trot really slowly and smoothly and Mike spent most of the hour trotting around their indoor school, just playing about with transitions. David said that he sat very well and he's going to let him have a go at cantering next time. He said that if a beginner's upper body stays still then he knows they're ready to canter and Mike's does.

David asked if I do a lot of teaching which made me think that I really should do more. Centered Riding is the approach I like the best so I'm going to look into becoming an instructor.

As Mike occupied most of David's attention I had a lovely time playing about on the horse I was riding, just doing my own thing trying out neck reining serpentines, turns on the forehand and haunches, fast trot to halts, canter to halt, etc. To be completely honest I found the horse's paces a bit flat for me and prefer a horse with a bit more spring in his step but the Quarter Horse I was riding was very sweet and honest, and very responsive.

It was my first time in a proper Western saddle as well and I certainly felt the part! I love riding one handed on a long rein and I love the whole easy, relaxed ethos of Western Riding. The horses and the people were all so easy going, chilled out and relaxed about the whole thing, and very smiley. I love the way they just drop the reins, mounted or unmounted, and the horses stand like rocks until the reins are picked up again. Everyone just takes it for granted that the horses will behave and guess what - they do!!! My kind of place completely!!!

As we were both riding at the same time I couldn't take any photos but here are some of Mike at home, taken on his first proper lesson in the school and on the loose! I've changed the saddle now as this one was tipping backwards a bit and he looks even better on the new one, with his lower leg even more underneath him.


  1. Catching up! What a great birthday adventure below!

    As for Mike's riding, good horses make all the difference. They build the confidence in a beginning rider and allow him to learn to sit well. I suspect Mike is a natural athlete too, of course, but regardless, it's wonderful to see him doing so well discovering your passion so you can share the fun!

  2. Thank you Jean. I'm not convinced his enthusiasm will last but time will tell!!!

  3. What fun! The lesson sounds like a lot of fun. The horses sound awesome. I do love neck reining with Western (which I grew up riding), but dressage is still my favorite. :)

    Mike looks good on him. I'm glad he's having fun with it.



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I am a clicker training addict and there is no cure - thank goodness!!!