Yesterday I had my first lesson with S, a new trainer that was hired to give lessons. I was very excited about the lesson because it felt like a new slate. S mentioned that the first lesson would be an hour long because she wanted to go from the basics. I personally had no problem with this, because it shows me that she cares about her students doing the correct things, and to me that means that she is a potentially a decent trainer.
I showed up and brought in Mr P to groom him up and right from the get-go he wanted to prove to me that he wasn't going to make this lesson easy. Mr P has the potential to be a very dosile horse, but that side usually only comes out when he is worked regurarly. He started pacing in his stall and whinnying like a big baby. So I tied him to the bars of the stall, my first "mistake". S told me that, safety wise, it is probably better to tie him to the rings in the stall. I had never used these but have always seen other people use them but I never used them because no one showed me really how to use them so I never did. S explained that the bars, even though they look sturdy, aren't and that if the horse pulls them out, the outcome would be much more disastrous than if the horse pulled the ring out of the wall, or if the halter broke. I asked her how short I should keep the line between the horse and ring and she said short enough so that if the horse rears it won't get it's foot tangled up, but you don't want the horse to be pressed up tightly against the wall.
I grabbed the grooming bucket and started grooming. As I'm grooming S is asking me why we curry, and where we curry. I answered the questions correctly, but she elaborated as to why we don't curry in some places (such as below the knee). Mr P, being himself, as being stubborn about picking up his foot so I could pick it, and I asked her what she does in a situation like that. She says that she presses the tendon above the hoof and put some pressure against the shoulder, compared to what I do which is mostly just poke the shoulder of the horse until he/she lifts the desired foot.
Next she showed me the proper way to tack up an animal. This is where I personally have the hardest time, is knowing how to get the tack to be in the proper spot (with some more practice I'll be fine). I could tell that I was doing some things wrong for the longest time, I never lifted the saddle pad into the (excuse me for imporper terminology feel free to leave a comment to correct me) but under the pomel of the saddle, and also she said that it's nice to lift the saddle pad up into the crease behind the saddle, to help free the horses back. Then I put the bridle on, and she went over how many fingers to have the fittings (4 fingers under the throat latch, 1 finger at most under the nose band, and 1.5 to 2 fingers between the cheek bone and the bit).
After we tacked up we went to the inside arena, once inside S talked to me about basic ground handling and she brought to light some things I hadn't thought about, or recognized that I was doing.
S decided to ride Mr P around for a few moments just to see how he was going to act, he was off of work for about 2 weeks and there was another horse in the arena from the hospital being lunged. After Mr P had worked out his problems about the other horse being in there also, she let me hop on him.
It was a smooth ride to begin with, and S began by working on getting me balanced and riding correctly. She really did a great job explaining what I needed to do, and also WHY. This is one problem I have had with previous instructors is that they just told me "heels down, have your hands this way" and you all know the rest haha. But S explained why, and sometimes how to get into this form and it really clicked. Don't get me wrong I am FAR from being a good model for riding, but I will get there.
About 10 min into the lesson, another rider had opened the garage doors to bring in another horse, and Mr P freaked. He bucked a reared a few times, BUT I stayed on!! And after the fact I actually smiled and thought it was fun hahaha!! While Mr P was having his little melt down S asked me to direct him towards her so she could grab the reins and just help calm him from the ground, and I was able to direct him. Some things I think I did very well was, keeping my weight in the stirrups, scooting my butt more underneath me (I only loss contact with the saddle once), and I didn't wail on his face, and I also stayed calm. My adrenaline was going but my nerves were nothing compared to the first time that I was Learning to Land and I was able to keep going on with my lesson.
After the Mr P moment, the lesson was very nice and calm (for the most part) and I learned a lot! Granted, I didn't do anything but walk, but I feel like I learned so much more than I really ever have about my body and riding in frame as a rider.
So all-in-all I feel the lesson went VERY well and that S will be a great trainer for me. I'll post more on another day about my riding today, but I don't want you guys having to read a novel :-D
Thanks for reading!