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  1. #21
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    Mar. 26, 2005
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    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    Eyes on the Ground never stopped being important for me.
    That said, I do not ride regularly with any particular trainer anymore.

    When I showed H/J I rode with a show barn, and so - of course - had a regular trainer. Back then I was taking lessons 3Xweek.
    When I began showing Dressage and doing some Eventing I was pretty much on my own. The barn I boarded at had no regular trainer, so I had someone come once a month to put the polish on before a show or Event.

    Now, with horses at home and zero interest in showing, I have a local dressage trainer who comes to my place infrequently.
    Last year was our last session, but I am hoping to have her back at least once a month starting as soon as the weather improves.
    I also would like to get some help with my Used-To-Drive pony since I am a Total Newb (had 6 lessons and one clinic with Muffy Seaton) to that discipline.

    IMHO you never stop learning or lose the ability to benefit from others' input.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  2. #22
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    Mar. 19, 2004
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    Earlysville, VA
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    2,150

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    Well, I am lucky enough to have a trainer in the family. I take occasional lessons because without them I slip into some really gawdawful habits--so I guess you could say I do it to keep my horse's sanity
    \"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.\" Anne of Green Gables



  3. #23
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    Aug. 31, 2011
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    southeast Georgia
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    2,916

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    I am a rerider who rides at a smallish H/J barn because that is what is available to me in my area now. When I was young, I rode in Pony Club and did some eventing. Most of my regular instructions came in the form of free Pony Club weekly group lessons (called "drill") and occasional clinics and private lessons. Now I take two lessons a week with a trainer mostly to have another set of eyes as I work with green horses, hers and now one of my own.

    What I have noticed as a big change since my earlier riding life is that it's much more common now for folks to buy what's called a "packer" so they can show. If someone buys a green horse, it's common to put it into training with a professional. When I was in PC, getting a green horse to work with yourself was a rite of passage. In fact, that was the sign that you were a good rider, and usually happened when you passed your "B" rating. Of course, things may have been different in the H/J world back then, but I did know some people who went that route, and I remember the riders training their green horses themselves (with help from instructors, of course).

    I am not trying to criticize people who use professionals to train their horses. I realize that times have changed, and people tend to have more on their plates now. It's just an observation.
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne



  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    5,362

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    I'm with 2DogsFarm on the first and last sentence of her post. I need eyes on the ground, and you NEVER stop learning. But I guess I would also question what qualifies as "having a trainer?" I keep my horses at home, I have full care, custody, and control over them at home and at shows, and I don't ride with anyone at shows. But I don't consider myself "trainer-less."

    I only show h/j and I guess I go more to the "coach" role with my jumping. I have a trainer that I ride with in clinics 3-6 times a year. He has a phenomenal eye and an even better memory, and helps me out tremendously every time I ride with him. I think I do a fine job with keeping the horses tuned up, but *I* need the help....to Janet's point

    But where I really need eyes on the ground is the daily dressage work. I take lessons semi-regularly (somewhere between once every couple of weeks to once a month), and I hang on every word my dressage trainer has to say. I have a bad tendency to think that if a little of something is good, a LOT of something would be even better! Let's just say that before I started riding with her regularly, my trainer was not impressed that I had taught my mare to to a "turn on the haunches" by pivoting on a single hind foot So I need someone who can say, "hey, less angle on the head-to-wall!" or "softer, that canter to halt is starting to resemble a sliding stop!" or "you're on 4 tracks again!" during an attempt at a shoulder-in, etc. (not that I have a lot of examples or anything).

    I would love to say that eventually I won't need a trainer. But the truth, as others have pointed out, is that the higher up the chain you go, the more you need the input of others. Or at least that's how it's worked for me. The more I know, the more I know I don't know!
    __________________________________
    Forever exiled in the NW.



  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2007
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    too far from the barn
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    5,519

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    I travel for work so it is important to me that my horses stay in work and I prefer them under professional eyes when I can't be there. I also compete and want to continue to move up the levels, starting with green horses. I've done it, but I'm not a good enough rider that I think it is sensible to do it without help. I lesson regularly (and sometimes manage to remember things from one lesson to the next). I am happy to go to competitions without my trainer, though appreciate their presence for "move-ups" or other major competitions. I often just hack or trail ride my horses and I set my own competition goals and lesson schedules
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!



  6. #26
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
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    398

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    When I didn't have my own horse, I took two lessons a week and rode on my own on a lease horse. I am trying to improve my riding as much as possible while still being able to afford it.

    I just bought a green horse that I can WTC but all her real training will be from my trainer (who is great with greenies). After the first few weeks, I will alternate between taking lessons on my horse and having my trainer ride my horse. I'd like to go to a show sometime in the next century. Even if I felt like I could train my own horse, it doesn't mean the training would be correct. I'd probably end up teaching her bad habits that are that much harder to fix than to do it right from the beginning.



  7. #27
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    40,097

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    I wanted to add, the reining trainer I am working with also takes a few days every so many months, especially before some really big show, like the Futurity and goes to ride with another trainer.
    There they ride each other's horses and that helps with any questions that are coming up.

    Seems that reining and working cowhorse trainers do that regularly, for what I hear, at all levels, even the ones at the top.
    I don't think that is near as common in the English disciplines.

    While showing you can learn much, watching others warm up and showing what they have taught their horses, there is no substitute for the exchange of ideas and more than one set of eyes on what we are doing day in and out while training.



  8. #28
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
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    A good trainer is essential. I ride dressage. If I am going to train my horse I need to invest in education. Its impossible to do dressage solo (I tried). Its hard enough doing it WITH a trainer

    If I couldn't afford a trainer I'd seriously re-consider my goals to be fair to the horse. I skimp in other areas of my life to ride dressage. My new horse I could probably maintain at this point with less training, but I wouldn't progress much.

    I ride in at least 1x a week lesson and have training rides as needed.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2007
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    Rising Sun, MD
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    3,485

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    For the most part, I am on my own with my horses since my chosen discipline (endurance) doesn't have a plethora of instructors. I do, however, take dressage lessons from a BNT a couple times a month because it is a perk of the farm where I work. I think the dressage work really helps especially with keeping myself balanced and light on the horse when my muscles are screaming from miles of trot work. As far as the horses go, I do all the work with them myself and generally I am the only one that rides them.
    For the other part of your question- one of my horses- Belle- is the same whether she sits for months or gets ridden every day. My other horse- Esme- retains her training but needs more consistent work because she is a major handful if I don't work her a few times a week.

    PS- OP are you the same Frosty as on Stableminds? If so this is Miata
    “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain



  10. #30
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    Jul. 21, 2006
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    South Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty M View Post
    Do you have a regular trainer? Are you working toward advancing in a discipline like dressage or does your horse seem to always need more training? How many of you enjoy just getting on and riding? Who of you is blessed enough to have a horse that never seems to "lose" his training even if he/she is not ridden much?
    . . . I 'm just curious why so many adults depend on having trainers year after year.
    My horse doesn't lose the training he's got - but there's always more stuff to learn. Same could be said for me - well, except like many have said, I do tend to fall into bad habits without regular lessons.

    We don't compete, and we're not working towards any particular goal right now - or maybe I should say, we're working towards being a good enough team so that we can pursue whatever goal we both enjoy.

    I guess I'm curious as to why more people don't take regular lessons. The more you learn, the more you and your horse can enjoy each other. I don't think of it as being dependent on a trainer - I think of it as broadening our horizons.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2001
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    down the road from bar.ka
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    31,166

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    Seems that reining and working cowhorse trainers do that regularly, for what I hear, at all levels, even the ones at the top.
    I don't think that is near as common in the English disciplines.
    It is in H/J...maybe not the riding each others horses but they all have relationships with other trainers they can call or ask to watch a horse and offer an opinion. IMO and IME it's one way to tell a decent trainer from a glorified Junior or Ammy hanging out a sign proclaiming themselves "trainers"
    ..and we have waaay too many of those.

    Over the years I did Western I sometimes did most of my own work and sometimes not but I always had a mentor and some eyes on the ground. When I switched to the Hunters, I felt I needed alot more help so pretty much stayed in a trainers barn but one with a la carte pricing for services.

    If I ever go back to just having a nice trail horse for pleasure...I can probably DIY comfortably.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  12. #32
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2001
    Location
    Finally...back in civilization, more or less
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    11,438

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    Quote Originally Posted by PNWjumper View Post
    I'm with 2DogsFarm on the first and last sentence of her post. I need eyes on the ground, and you NEVER stop learning. But I guess I would also question what qualifies as "having a trainer?" I keep my horses at home, I have full care, custody, and control over them at home and at shows, and I don't ride with anyone at shows. But I don't consider myself "trainer-less."

    I only show h/j and I guess I go more to the "coach" role with my jumping. I have a trainer that I ride with in clinics 3-6 times a year. He has a phenomenal eye and an even better memory, and helps me out tremendously every time I ride with him. I think I do a fine job with keeping the horses tuned up, but *I* need the help....to Janet's point

    But where I really need eyes on the ground is the daily dressage work. I take lessons semi-regularly (somewhere between once every couple of weeks to once a month), and I hang on every word my dressage trainer has to say. I have a bad tendency to think that if a little of something is good, a LOT of something would be even better! Let's just say that before I started riding with her regularly, my trainer was not impressed that I had taught my mare to to a "turn on the haunches" by pivoting on a single hind foot So I need someone who can say, "hey, less angle on the head-to-wall!" or "softer, that canter to halt is starting to resemble a sliding stop!" or "you're on 4 tracks again!" during an attempt at a shoulder-in, etc. (not that I have a lot of examples or anything).

    I would love to say that eventually I won't need a trainer. But the truth, as others have pointed out, is that the higher up the chain you go, the more you need the input of others. Or at least that's how it's worked for me. The more I know, the more I know I don't know!
    The more I know, the more I know I don't know!

    This pretty much sums it up for me!!

    Plus, I have to say... I LOVE to take lessons (and do clinics.) It's the ultimate luxury to have someone really, really good focus on you and your horse and making things better. I'm always interested in hearing someone I respect give me their feedback on the ground so I can compare it to what I am feeling in the tack - it improves my ability to work correctly/productively on my own. And of course, there are times when I think I've really nailed something, only to find that when my instructor asks for more (or gives me something to tweak) we are actually capable of producing a lot more/better quality of whatever it is.

    For example, yesterday was glorious here and I was having a ball taking a lesson from my dressage instructor out in her big grass ring. (Heaven!) She asked me to collect the canter and I really thought I was "there;" my horse felt super. Well, he had shortened his stride some - and he was using himself - but there was so much more collection in there! She helped me realize that he could really sit and collect a LOT more than I had asked for, and he was perfectly capable of doing it. So now I have a better context for what I'm shooting for the next time I want to collect that canter. I wouldn't have gotten that on my own, even though I've been riding for years and years and feel like I flat a horse pretty well.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  13. #33
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2005
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    Sandy, Utah
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    6,002

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    I guess I would have to say that I've 'never' had a trainer in the context of current day definitions. I have had excellent instructors at times, and do occasional clinics these days and do have access to instructors or 'horse trainers' as needed.

    I would add that as the horse-crazed kid in the non-horsey family, I pretty much had to scrape up my own bucks for instruction, horse show fees and transportation, and etc. So I guess I am still somewhat in the habit of just keeping my eyes and ears open to make up for that deficit- there are things to learn all around you, every day, if you just pay attention. Like watching others' lessons, or watching others working with horses. Or just watching horses be horses. They do tell you a lot.

    But back in the day, the thing was, you were supposed to learn and practice at home so that you could perform independently in competition. I well remember Jane Marshall Dillon walking an equitation course with four students at a horse show in Virginia in the early 80s. After the course walk, she asked them each, in turn, 'how will you ride this course?' My impression these days is that most trainers/instructors 'tell' the student how to ride the course which is less conducive to long term building of the knowledge base, I think.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2005
    Location
    Central California Mountains
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    768

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty M View Post
    I've noticed that working with a trainer regularly seems to be considered a usual part of the expense of owning a horse for a lot of you.
    I don't think I consider it a usual part of horse ownership expense. But I do think it is essentially is you are wanting to improve your horsemanship, are training a horse (such as a greenie) and are not a trainer (like I am not a trainer) and/or are working to competing in shows. While people can and do show w/out trainers, for me, I do things I don't realize I'm doing until a trainer points it out to me. So I need that extra set of eyes to help improve both myself and my horse.



    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty M View Post
    Do you have a regular trainer? Are you working toward advancing in a discipline like dressage or does your horse seem to always need more training?
    Yes I have a regular trainer and I have additional "spot" trainers, LOL. I show in reined cowhorse, ranch horse versatility & cowboy/obstacle races. I ride with my regular trainer about 2x a month (if possible). He helps me with general horsemanship and training on my green filly and tweaking on the mare I currently am competing on. He also helps with trail obstacles & cow work, although he does not always have cows so we'll work on the flag & he helps me with general reining as well. I go to cowhorse trainers for cow practice and specific help relating to cowhorse showing (although my "general" trainer does essentially the same things as the cowhorse trainers).

    My filly (I guess though technically, she's now a mare!) is just learning, so I guess you can say she is in constant need of training, LOL. The mare I compete on, as I said, we just need to do little things to get a better response from her. She was not professionally trained (I rode her with the help of trainers), so there are things we always need to work on and adjust. But not as much as we used to!


    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty M View Post
    How many of you enjoy just getting on and riding?
    I do that with my horses. We get out and trail ride where I ask nothing more than to go in a certain direction. We also trail ride up to my trainers for lessons (well, ride and pony the filly)it's about an hour's ride); it not only warms them up for the lesson, but is fun for all of us. I think it's important for the horses to have fun, "no work" rides, too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty M View Post
    Who of you is blessed enough to have a horse that never seems to "lose" his training even if he/she is not ridden much?
    My horses, even the filly, don't seem to lose their training, but they (and I) do need refreshers and will tend to cheat if allowed to.


    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty M View Post
    This is a spin off of an old thread from BO's who had trouble with people paying for trainers before they would pay for things like routine medical care for their horses, farriers, or even tack that fit- not that any of you would ever do that. I 'm just curious why so many adults depend on having trainers year after year.
    Definitely for me the health care of a horse comes before a lesson for me. I think those who don't are more concerned on the prize & competiting or themselves than the horse. Getting instruction for me is to improve both myself and my horse and showing for me is to have fun and gage where my skills and my horse's skills are; a horse that is not healthy (which includes routine medical care, farrier, tack fit) is not going to have fun in what ever they do and will not work effectively, which defeats the whole purpose of getting lessons. Nope, health care definitely trumps lessons/training. Although I will say the people I train with (both my regular trainer and spot trainers) are always willing to talk over the phone to help me out or give me exercises I can to at home if I cannot come for a lesson for a while.



  15. #35
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2011
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    812

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    I have a trainer because I have a horse that is much better than I am. When I was riding my horse's that were never going to be competitive I took a several year hiatus from having a trainer. I cliniced a lot, but didn't have a set schedule.

    Now that I have this nice young mare, I want to make sure she has as much of a chance as possible to succed. That said, I'm still not on a reglar schedule. If I know the weather is going to be crappy for four days, I am going to skip a lesson that week since I won't have time to practice. Now that I am getting ready to show, I am riding 2x a week (when possible) so that we can keep building on our last lesson. I'm sure it's not ideal, but luckily my trainer understands my finance situation and she lets me use her as needed.



  16. #36
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2001
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    Pennsylvania,Zone ll
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    2,159

    Default I need EYES ON THE GROUND TOO!

    I rode from leadline on up. When I was in my 20s,30s and 40s I had a horse business with a twenty four stall barn. I rode all day every day on horses for various disciplines. I had my show horse (on the side) and rode him/her last. But even without formal education, you ride 10-12 horses a day , you get them where you are being paid to get them, you get pretty effective. I made numerous successful show horses and sold them well.

    Then I married a standardbred trainer and trained them with him for twenty five years. I rode maybe one young prospect a day. Whew....my confidence went out the window and I develooped some bad fear based habits....riding back wards, doing unconcious movements with my hands, not using my legs....So I now need EYES ON THE GROUND to help me correct the habits I have acquired over the last 30 non=professional years!!
    "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt



  17. #37
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
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    down south
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    I have a trainer because there is still so much to learn. I've always had one, when I barrel raced, jumped, now dressage. Dressage is always a evolving process for me and my guy and yes it helps having a trainer with eyes on the ground and to helps us advance.

    Also I'm lucky that I have horses that do not forget! My new guy is new to dressage and is learning just intro stuff, contact, carrying himself, balance etc and he has had 16 weeks off. Got back on and he remembers it all and behaves like he has been ridden everyday. No problems at all

    My other guy has been retired for over 3 years with epm. We have just started bring him back. Walking and just trotted a bit the last 2 days and he remembers every bit of it. He actually is reaching and trying to find the contact lol

    Yes, I can go out of trail rides with my hubby and ride on the buckle and we all just relax and have a nice ride.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  18. #38
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    Oct. 16, 2008
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    Central Oklahoma
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    My horses don't lose training regardless how long they have been chucked in the pasture. I pretty much work with my own horses at home but I take dressage clinics under one clinician whenever she comes to this region and we will trailer about three hours to her. I have done that for the past years and it has worked out well for me. I like the progress and my pony loves dressage work. I don't believe I could have progressed nearly as much as I have if not for her.



  19. #39
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    Mar. 13, 2000
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    I think having regular lessons is essential. I know there are plenty of people who think they ride just fine, but I'm not sure their horses would agree.

    You don't have to ride 1.4m jumpers or UL dressage, but you should want to have the same degree of body control that these riders have. Why? Because your horse will thank you. If he has to shut down a bit in every ride to deal with your loud aids, your uneven weight, your extra-strong left arm, your wrong choice of bit, your you name it... I mean, I just don't think that that is fair to the horse. The only way to become aware of this is through consistent lessons and dedicated practice.

    Putting the needs of the horse first is another way to think of it. As you probably guess, I lesson nearly weekly. Just ask my checkbook. I am an instructor and trainer to lower-level riders. I also am certified in equine massage and there is a lot to listen to when working on the horses.



  20. #40
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    Jul. 19, 2007
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    Michigan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janet View Post
    Who of you is blessed enough to be a rider that never seems to lose your training even when you do not get much instruction?

    I Know _I_ slip into bad habits if I ride on my own (without lessons) for months at a time.

    My horses seem to retain their training better than I do!
    Me. I have ridiculous muscle memory, though. (As in I got on after not riding for five years and all the 'programming' was still installed, including sitting spooks without thinking, as I found out on that ride. I was extremely annoyed and self-critical that when I started skating again after four years last month it took a couple hours of ice time for stuff like crossovers and the easy one-foot turns to come back.) I can be consciously LAZY, but I know what I'm doing when I do it. But I am a crazy kinesthetic learner. I remember actions really well.

    I don't take lessons. An enormous part of my confidence and fear issues go away if I ride without a trainer present. I would consider sending my horse to a trainer to have sixty days put on him if I wanted to do something serious with him, but for w/t/c and minimal jumping I've done a lot better doing it alone. And since he's not really interested in doing anything hugely athletic (fair enough, he raced a lot and doesn't really have any keep to earn any more), no plans for that. Even if I were going to show, it would be local fun shows and probably nothing more exciting than halter and adult walk-trot (his canter is not the world's prettiest and there's no making it a lope).

    Though I had fun taking a lesson at my brother's barn, despite elderly lesson horse needing even more leg than Lucky. (Up until the heat got to me. I should just stay indoors if it's over 85.) Trainer let me jump elderly lesson horse, too, and I got to work on a semi-dirty stopper (she sort of gave warning, kinda, if you knew it was coming, which I did after the first time.)



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