It’s been a long time since I’ve had a formal lesson with a professional trainer.
When I say a long time, I mean like more than a year. Actually try several years.
After college, I was able to take lessons intermittently while I traveled from new city to new city following my career. Private lessons with quality trainers, as we all know, aren’t cheap these days. So even then, taking a lesson was a treat.
For a while, I trained under an accomplished dressage trainer, riding her schoolmaster Thoroughbred gelding occasionally in exchange for helping out around the farm. It was a sweet deal for me (who was broke) and I learned a lot. But unfortunately because of my full time job, it was short lived.
I’ve held onto the memory of those lessons for years now, applying what I learned to the many green horses I’ve ridden more recently. But I still yearned for the day that I would settle, have a reliable horse, and could start working toward real and obtainable goals with the help of a trainer.
After spending a lot of time working with really green horses, I found my forever horse as an adult. Belinda, my Hanoverian mare, has traveled with me as I continue to move around for my career. For the first time since I was in high school, I’m now based at a barn with a full-time trainer. It’s exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time.
I was so nervous the day of my first scheduled lesson. I dressed up for it. I made sure Belinda looked as neatly turned out as possible, (which is rather hard with a mare that’s itchy in the summer and doesn’t sweat. Did I mention she managed to completely rub away her forelock? How embarrassing.)
I was obviously rusty. After so much time without a trainer, it was easy for me to fall into a groove and only work on the training aspects I was comfortable with. In 45 minutes, my new trainer Lauren pushed me out of my comfort zone. I felt my mare respond in ways I never knew existed for her. It was an eye opening experience and in many ways, the rewarding one I had been searching for.
I left the barn after my first lesson feeling rejuvenated. Even though we’ve taken several major steps back to start some technical aspects of our training from the beginning, the early results are already surpassing anything I could have done on my own. I’ve always known that having a good set of eyes on the ground is important.
Now, after a few lessons in, I’m sore all the time. But it’s that good kind of body sore, the kind that reminds you just how hard you’re working. And that it is past due to get that squishy butt back in shape.