Monday, June 8, 2009

2009 AHACO Arabian Horse Show in Salem - JOTR cont

Now, don't get me wrong on my evaluation of Rachel's ride on Dandy. Just like training horses is a process, learning how to ride them is a process too. Everyone learns at their own rate and Rachel definitely still has a lot to learn. However, in the months she has been working with Richard she has come a long way.

Richard has put her onto different horses with different issues, not just for a ride or two, but repeatedly working on learning how to deal with things particular to that horse. That's given her the opportunity to get the "feel" of different things and she's had to learn how to use her legs and her seat.

My observations about Dandy and Rachel together are strictly about seeing what needs to be "fixed" to make the pair competitive at the level Rachel still says she wants to compete. As I've said many times before, you can't get there if you aren't willing to see what you need to "fix." Being barn blind, whether it be to the quality of a horse OR the quality of a ride, never got anyone into the winners circle.

While Richard has worked teaching Rachel how to ride horses he is familiar with, he is not all that familiar with Dandy. He has an impression of how he believes the horse goes but that is only based on what he has seen......and mostly that's been Rachel riding the horse.

Richard has worked the horse in the long lines "teaching" him a higher headset for hunter pleasure. He's been impressed with the horse's willingness to give him whatever he asks. However, Richard has never ridden the horse. He doesn't know this horse can do with a rider exactly what he does in the long lines if the rider knows how to ask.

Since Richard is the one working with Rachel, he needs to know that she is interfering somehow with Dandy doing his job. Something about their communication is off and finding the key to that will change the outcome of their relationship.

Knowing that Rachel has improved tremendously in the use of her legs since this time last year, I suspect the issue has more to do with her confidence and something about the way she is holding her reins. Having seen how hard Rachel is currently working, I believe knowing what these issues are and fixing them is important to her. So Richard and I have put our heads together to see if we can figure out what's causing this difference in Dandy's potential and their actual rides.

I must admit that part of the problem has been the communication between Richard and me. Sometimes I think he understands what I'm saying only to discover later we were not on the same page.

That has certainly been the case when it comes to Dandy. The horse's history with EPM and the long process it took me to correct his illness created issues have made me the rider I am. But others are just beginning to learn that I am that rider and that the horse really did come out the other side.

Now it's just a matter of whether Rachel can figure out how to get that kind of ride from the horse. This first ride at Salem was only one step in her reaching that goal. Rachel was already working on getting a better ride before she hit the ring for her next class.

To be continued...............

Select Rider

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  1. How lucky for Rachel to have the opportunity to learn with different horses. So many times I have seen people ride one horse well and think they have it all figured out. When put on a different mount they (and their performance) falls apart completely. It really helps to be able to feel what is working for that horse that day. Many people never get the chance to have such a valuable foundation. Rachel really is fortunate! I bet she'll 'get it' soon with Richard's help and your support.

  2. Dandy is just beautiful. I know Rachel will get it figured out with all the professional help you and Richard are giving her.

  3. Hi MiKael
    I have no experience in this training area at all but it sounds to me like Rachel is just not "clicking" with Dandy anymore, something has interfered with their relationship and maybe with his age etc. she is growing, he may be finding it harder to communicate with her, a bit of resentment perhaps. Just a thought.

    I lost my first foal last night, Lethal White, I am heart broken. Short bit on my blog about it. Hope you are well.


  4. it's all about communication.. between horse and rider.. horse and trainer... always a continuing journey

    happy trails