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First 1 on 1 lesson post 12* Adventures into Reining. First lesson and a New Saddle

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  • First 1 on 1 lesson post 12* Adventures into Reining. First lesson and a New Saddle

    Some of you know that a couple weeks or so ago I went to a Reining Clinic with Poco in tow and proceeded to be "That person on That horse" It was one of the most scary experiences I have ever had and I would have done it again in a heart beat, even the part where I lost my stirrup on Poco at the canter and thought I was going to turn into an Arena Dart at high speed. At the end of that 5 hour day I nearly cried from a combo of nerves and relief that I finally found someone who UNDERSTOOD what I was working with and who told me and showed me in the clinic that he could and would help me as much as I needed. He wasn't going to be wishy washy but he wasn't going to be Sgt. Hard Ass either.

    Today was my first lesson since the Clinic. Between the clinic and this lesson I had "riding homework" that homework consisted of round pen riding, warming up then cantering around and practicing on stopping. I worked on it a couple times then work caused me to not ride for a week but I did practice again Friday and it went well.

    Loaded up the horses and got the saddle and bridle loaded in and off we went. The saddle I took is a no name saddle that I am borrowing from one of my aunts, It doesn't fit perfect but it fit better than the other saddle I have is is waaay too wide. The bridle had the Rocking S Snaffle Bit that I tried then liked enough to keep instead of reselling and buying the same bit I lost. I also "stole" (That's in quotes now, it was done with permission) my BO's 5' western reins. Yes I said 5'. Way too short for him to use but a good length for Poco, you all know that short little neck.

    We get to his place (Right around the corner!) Unload and start tacking up. He comes out. Looks at me and Poco, looks at my saddle and said "Hold up, I got a saddle for you." He brought out this dark oiled saddle with a pale creamish smooth seat. We put it on and I am no real judge of saddle fit really but I could tell and reaffirmed it that it was better than the one I was going to use, not to mention nicer anyway I wasn't going to object riding in it! I get to tightening the girth and do the knot I've always done, I don't ever use those holes, never have. He comes by and says "Ok, we aren't in the old times any more, now a days we got these things called holes and buckles, lets use them." That cracked me up, and he went and showed me how to use said holes and buckles. Got my stirrups shorter, headed to the round pen and got started.

    It started how I expected it to, Poco almost immediately shot off and he asked me what she was doing, I said her head was up and pointing out, he said correct and we were going to work on it, then he got after me for clinging on and called me "Clingon" I heard a lot of "Stop stop stop" in that round pen. He got me to loosen my reins up, and then he started me on practicing a stop via roll back towards the panels. So we get moving, every time I heard him go "stop and switch" I was to cue her to stop with my outside rein, seat, and vocal then roll her back into the other direction.

    The one thing I learned was my English riding habits needed to go out for the time being. Little things like the word "Ho." I told Poco "Ho." and next thing I hear is "Ho?! We don't have any Hos here I got ride of them a LONG time ago, It is Whoa not Ho. Whats in Whoa? W. Use it" After a bit of the stops we started on shutting her down and making her think instead of reacting so much to the cue to speed up. We get going and I hear "Stop stop stop" And when I finally did I was told this "You should have stopped 40 strides ago." It took me a few more times before I really got what he meant. That the time when I thought she was starting to act up wasn't when she was starting but when she had been in it already for at least a few strides. Once that clicked I was able to catch on to it a lot quicker. And towards the end of the round pen session she was doing decently. Next he wanted to move outside, because I wasn't the only one doing a lesson my two BO's were there as well and during my round pen session they were warming up. Before we went out he looked at me and said "Can you handle her in the open or do you need to stay in here. I want to make sure you can I don't want there to be any accidents." I told him I could. That's one thing I learned with Poco was how to hang on, before I moved her my riding area was one open area. I could stop her, it might not be pretty but I could stop her if i had to. Once we confirmed that out we went.

    His arena is the strangest arena I've seen.. It one giant circle.

    I watched my BO's take their respective turns as Poco and I sat there watching. Then it was my turn. We get started and Poco is once again hyped up and wired. "Stop stop stop." Got her stopped, then started again, got reminded to ease up on the reins, I needed to take and release contact as needed, That I wanted her to back off the bit contact and pick her self up, keeping constant contact and "clinging on" like I was was going to do nothing other than give her something she could push against and before we knew it we would be zipping around like a bat out of hell. He then worked on my position, that I was leaning way to far back in the saddle and when I asked for the stop nothing is changing in my position, she isn't getting any real feel of it. Then was a combo of starting the give and release of the outside rein to get her attention on me to cue her to come back in and slow. We trot around a bit and he has me stop her I do and I shift around in the saddle, this happens a couple times and he goes "Your like a Spider Money, wiggling and crawling all over the horse" I go another round stop and I start to shift and he yells, I cant remember if he yelled "SIT" or "STILL" but either way I froze. He got after me of course that when she stops *I* need to stop, if a horse stops and wiggles they get backed, if a rider wiggles you cant back the rider and the horse doesn't get that feel of a stop and still. He had me stop her and stand. He looked at my BO and said.

    "Last time you were here you asked about slowing a horse's lope down, and I told you that To lope fast and keep at it until they are tired, then lope them some more and then ask for a slower lope, soon enough they will get to thinking 'lopin slow isn't so bad!' and they get better at it. You can do that with this horse, that horse, his horse, and your horse, but you CANNOT do that with Her horse. Her horse has been trained to react the way she does, not by her but it doesn't change that she was trained to be that way. You tell that horse to haul ass and she will and she will keep doing it even if she is dogged tired, this type of horse requires a different approach."

    He looked back at me then said "ok give her a break Walk around the circle."

    And so I walked. At first it wasnt so much a walk as it was her gait that she does before hitting the trot. I worked on doing what he had instructed, a give and take of the outside rein and committing to my stop and after a bit she was reacting more positively. In a much quicker time that I would have bet on she was walking calmly around the circle. I would stop her then turn her and walk the other direction, at first I did full circles, then I started doing stints of walking a few strides stopping her pausing then turning walking a few steps, stopping, then turning, or stopping then continuing. Poco got a lot more focused on my cue to stop and was doing it more and more based off of seat, I made sure to practice was he had stated earlier about giving and releasing with the outside rein to bring her attention back in to me and to chill out. After a bit of her doing well I went and stood out while he took over the rest of the circle with one of my BO's. Before I knew it, it was my turn again.

    I get Poco out and we start again. He wants me to trot in a small circle, specifically to allow Poco to trot. Problem is Poco was in the walking groove and unfortunately when cued to trot even lightly made her "act like a needle got jabbed in her" But luckily enough that only happened a couple times. We get going and he starts going "out side rein, take, release, take, release, there ya go look at that trot see how she came back down? Keep going, stop, turn slowly, stop stop stop, S. L. O. W. L. E. Y, there ya go" and on we went at the end she was giving me a nice little jog. We stopped and worked on her back a little bit and Poco was done for the day.

    I head back out of the circle and look at Trainer Dude and said "Now you need to ride her!" and he said not today but he would. And another person who showed up mid lesson (Also a trainer but in english) said "I will!" He looked at her then said "Not outside of a pen you wont." She said "C'mon you know me" and he said "and I know that horse, I want my fences to stay intact." We got a chuckle out of it but what he said was right, Poco isn't exactly the horse to hop on and go if you have never ridden her before, it is always best to start in a pen and get a feel first.

    We go and unsaddle and I'm returning him his saddle and I told him that I really liked it. He looked at me and said "If you like it, I cant sell it, but you are welcome to borrow it as long as you need it." I of course am ecstatic. I then showed him the bit Ive been riding Poco in for a bit because he wanted to really see it as it "looked like some kind of contraption" he looked at it, got a feel for it then went "Ah I get how it is supposed to work, keep riding her in it."

    Me and him are going to get together about getting in a few lessons on his horses then told me that if I cant make it out to his place he will come to me as he knew work was very busy right now.

    All in all I am very happy with my decision to get lessons from him, he really reaffirmed the decision I made at the Clinic and he is really helping me with Poco by changing how I am reacting to her consciously or unconsciously.

    Anyway pictures of "my" new saddle!

    The tag on the seat says "Dick Pieper Reiner" and it is a NRHA Saddle Smith Saddle

    And an unflattering picture of me watching him.
    Last edited by Kitari; Oct. 12, 2012, 07:20 PM.
    Did you know, today is yesterdays tomorrow and what you would leave for tomorrow you should do today?
    I am pro-Slaughter

  • #2
    good for you! Sounds like you learned a lot!


    • Original Poster

      I did that's for sure. The BO even drug out his own giant circle which I know I will be practicing on!
      Did you know, today is yesterdays tomorrow and what you would leave for tomorrow you should do today?
      I am pro-Slaughter


      • #4
        I've been following your story since you went to the clinic, and I have to say GREAT JOB!!!! Sounds like this trainer is going to teach you and Poco a lot, and it also sounds like he is doing wonders for your confidence!!!

        GO KITARI!!!!
        Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



        • #5
          I wish I had a "follow" button so I could get an email every time you post the next part of your story. Every post of yours about you, Poco, and the reining trainer, it brightens my day! I'm really happy for how well this is all working for you guys.


          • #6
            I have to say I echo the above posters, although I didn't think to say it. You explain clearly your clinic and how you learned. I don't ride Western - though I wish I did know how - and it was interesting to me to read your account and how your instructor gave you the encouragement to try and the firmness to do it properly.. but not a Sgt. HardAss!! Good for you.
            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


            • Original Poster

              Its really a relief on the whole thing, I've had her for since 06', when I first got her she wouldn't even WALK much less stop. I've had various people out to try her out and see if they could help and none have worked out for various reason the two most common ones were they were wanting to bit her up and gadget her down, or they just didn't feel like they could handle her. And one of those sessions I paid a pretty penny for at that!

              So Ive stalked online forums, posted threads *cough*trainwrecks*cough* picked through advice, took, and posted TONS of videos *cough*trainwrecks*cough* And in 6 years I made some progress to not get myself killed riding her and to get her chilled and not so bolty/rushy. But Ive made more progress in the clinic and this one lesson than I have for months if not years.

              Obviously I am still happy with my lesson and I am planning on going straight to the barn after work to practice in the new tilled area my BO made this past weekend.
              Did you know, today is yesterdays tomorrow and what you would leave for tomorrow you should do today?
              I am pro-Slaughter


              • Original Poster

                Yesterday I got out in time to do my riding homework. I went ahead and ditched the round pen in favour of the large disked circle my BO made this past weekend. Poco started off like normal of course but after a couple minutes she calmed down quite a bit. I really focused on what he was saying earlier about not maintaining any direct contact with her mouth because what he said was true in the end it would have been a pulling match and we would have been zipping along in no time. I am NOT used to split reins at all and I really don't like these, they are just too darn light and don't feel quite right. He did say he would make me a set, but I think he is doing so much for me already as is, I will just go ahead and buy better ones.

                But as far as the homework went, it went well. Poco needed a reminder a couple times starting off but, after about say 5 minutes she was listening much better and her stops have improved by leaps and bounds. I mainly stuck at the walk, that's what I am working on right now anyway with Trainer Dude, primarily walk and trot, mostly trot with him. I figure at home I can work mostly at the walk with some trot thrown in to reaffirm the relaxedness that we have gotten so far and to practice what he had me working on at the trot during our lesson. I did of course practice some trotting and she came down well enough to a nice little jog, but it needs work she would come down to me for a few strides then zip back up, come down then zip back up. But even during that when I sat back and asked her to stop she didn't drag out for several strides before doing so, in about 3 or less strides she was stopped, before it would take a lot to stop her sometimes accompanied by pissy pony ears, tail flinging, or leg stomping. I did make sure that when she stopped I stopped, I wasn't acting like a "Spider Monkey" last night.Laugh But I am glad with how our ride went. I know it will take a bit before things like this will be the norm, practice makes permanent in the end and Poco has had a lot of practice doing the "wrong" thing vs the right.
                Did you know, today is yesterdays tomorrow and what you would leave for tomorrow you should do today?
                I am pro-Slaughter


                • #9
                  Kitari, I love your posts, and you gave me a good break from a crappy day. I am so glad that you found the right trainer at last, though it's horrific to learn you've been riding this half-broke hellion for 6 years.

                  I'm glad you survived.

                  Please keep updating us on your lessons. You know you have a book there, don't you? "Poco's Training Diary," or something? You have talent, and you have persistence, or that horse would have gone down the road a long time ago. Write about your journey.
                  "I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."


                  • Original Poster

                    Not only that BUT she was my first horse and I didn't know SQUAT!

                    Here are a couple videos for instance!

                    This is my latest video taken on the 5th before my lesson on Sunday.

                    So much to do!
                    Did you know, today is yesterdays tomorrow and what you would leave for tomorrow you should do today?
                    I am pro-Slaughter


                    • Original Poster

                      Poco has her new "real reins"
                      Did you know, today is yesterdays tomorrow and what you would leave for tomorrow you should do today?
                      I am pro-Slaughter


                      • Original Poster

                        Nothing like having a last minute lesson!

                        Yesterday I was talking to Trainer Dude and asking when would be a good time to come out and ride one of his horses, I was thinking we would do it sometime next week after his show but he surprised me by going "how about tonight?" and yea I jumped on it.

                        I head on over there after work and he asked me big or stout I told him either one I've ridden both before and so he asked about training wise, I told him I want one with a lot of it so I can really get a feel of it. Well he put me on a horse of his call, wait for it... Red. :lol Unlike my old Red this one is a gelding and better built and well lots of other differences. But still I found it kind of funny. Brushed him out, tacked on up and headed to the round pen. The purpose of this lesson was to work on my position. In short he said my position Sucked and if I worked on it, fixing Poco would be easier if I am riding consistently instead of not.

                        So I get on and get myself situated in that saddle (a different one from what he is letting me borrow) and then the picking starts. My reins are too long, now they are too short, I need to learn to adjust my reins as needed and maintain about 3" of drape as that will allow him freedom of movement yet if I need to make contact and correct him I'm not reaching up to my ears to do so. And we continue, I'm leaning too far back, use my legs, not that much, quit using the inside leg, quite throwing his head away, quit clinging. Turn means turn on the haunches not like a boat, leaning back too far, learning too far forward "Why are you leaning to the side?!" get off the back of the saddle. On and on him and I went and amidst all that there were questions, what happens when..., why do you do this and not that, whats the purpose of...? and so on and so forth. Yes there was swearing involved.

                        Around and around we go. Gradually the picking lessens and we start on something other than the walk and trot. Turning on the haunches and loping off. Leg leg leg, kiss kiss kiss. I had a lot of trouble getting him to maintain the lope and pick it up. Once again it was my position, quit leaning back quit this and quit that, do this and that instead. Slowly but surly things started going well, I started keeping my back straight instead of leaning back so much. Using my legs better keeping myself in the center of the saddle.

                        So I start doing much better at getting him going and continuing and that's when he starts on the next stage. Stop turn and lope off. When he wants me to stop he wants me to "commit to the stop."

                        So me and Red are going along, he goes "stop" and I go "whoa" and he stopped on a dime and I flop over. I went "Damn that's good!" and he went "that's right he better be! Now what did you do wrong?" He went on to tell me how I need to stop That I need to not lean back but sit deeper get my heels down, and maintain control through my thighs and upper leg to maintain my position. I wouldn't get it 100% for a bit but once I have it, it will stay there. And so we went again, Loping along and he goes "stop" I say whoa and then proceed to sucker punch myself in the right groin muscle with the saddle in the most pathetic attempt to commit to the stop I think I have ever done. Man it almost made me see stars because unfortunately that happened to be the same groin muscle I pulled a few months ago. And of course he had no pity on me. "Ow? ow?! There's no ows in riding, you did that yourself, you need to sit straight, deep, heels down and use your legs and core to grip! Again other way."

                        So we get going along and my stops improve in the since I'm no longer sucker punching myself but I still don't quite got the control yet at the canter, so we are going along and he tells me "Now i want you to say 'easy'" and so I did and he slowed down to a pokey walk and he tells me to bump to the trot and get him to do a slow jog, so we did that a couple rounds and he instructs me on the leg over to one stride into the lope, so I do that into the other direction, it was one stride so much as 10 strides :lol but I did get him going and we are going along and he tells me to tell him easy again, and when I did that horse stopped before I even finished saying the word and I went and punched that horn straight into my stomach. I stayed in that position for a second then busted out laughing and he laughed to and said "man neither of you were ready for that!" and that was the last time we said "easy" but wait, we are not done! this is only half the lesson!

                        We go back to the lope off and stops, I can tell I am doing better than before as Red reacted better to the cues I was giving, and I was able to start bringing him back down as Trainer Dude told me how to bring him in, slow him down, and collect him up. So I'm going along and working on keeping him in and together vs strung out like we were going before and each time he said stop I was to cue the stop. In the end I was doing better though I kept rising up slightly out of the seat, my rollback and lope offs started looking kind of decent though I am better to the left than the right, I got down to 2 strides going left and about 4 strides going right.

                        We had the after ride chat and he said.

                        "You have improved leaps and bounds from when you first got on that horse, A LOT faster than I thought you would" I told him "I was trying to listen and apply it" and he went "And that's how it should be, good job!"

                        I am very glad with how last night's lesson went and I am very glad with how quickly I was catching onto what he was saying and telling me to do, really looking back on it when I first got on it was pathetic. I know I may back slide but I also know that I will try my damnedest on my homework rides to keep with what he was saying to do.
                        Did you know, today is yesterdays tomorrow and what you would leave for tomorrow you should do today?
                        I am pro-Slaughter


                        • #13
                          Good post - thanks for the free lesson. The student is half of the equation - no, one third, really, if you count the horse and trainer, and a teachable student who listens and tries to apply makes a successful trainer and lesson.
                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                          • Original Poster

                            Free lesson? I thought I was being pretty vague!
                            Did you know, today is yesterdays tomorrow and what you would leave for tomorrow you should do today?
                            I am pro-Slaughter