I try to get outside instruction every six-eight weeks from spring to fall. This includes three trips to Pennsylvania to audit the PA Teacher’s Course. It is also why I planned three riding clinics with Nicole Weinauge in 2013. After postponing our clinic with Nicole Weinauge I decided to host a clinic with Lexi Myers. Lexi is a participating rider of the PKINPA Teachers Training Course held in Mercersburg, PA. She is also a very talented trainer and clinician that is gifted at bringing out the best in every horse and rider.
On Thursday I had a long chat with Lexi on the phone. I was able to do a run through of the current training progress of all my horses. I was upset that two of my horses, in particular, were not making progress as I expected. It was from that conversation I realized how often I place my own self-validation as a trainer in the hands of the progress of my own horses. Lexi pointed out that horses are truly individuals, and really, sometimes it’s not the rider but the horse. Perhaps, Gracie needs a different work schedule. Or, maybe she needs to be lunged a few days per week rather than riding work. Lexi said, “Sensitive mares are like that. You have to play around and figure out how to vary their training schedule.” She continued, “Maybe, working on dressage makes her sore, so the next day she needs a hack or lunging.”
After our conversation I decided to table riding and go back to lunging. On Thursday I lunged Gracie and noticed that she was stiff behind, but loosened up by the end of the session. Last night she was moving more freely. I set up a few jumps in the indoor to free school, and Gracie didn’t want to stop. My other horses are making steady improvements under saddle. Kate is now picking up her canter from a deeper seat. Stella is marching around the arena at the walk and trot without a ground person. Delaware can pick up her right lead canter and is more consistent stretching into the contact, and one of my trainees started schooling simple changes last night. All their hard work makes me happy.