Last week, I had a lesson on Alvin. I got sucked into his tendencey to drop out of the canter repeatedly and without warning. This week, I found that a slight driving aid kept him in gear. Mostly. I prevented a few attempts to downshift and could start to feel the warning signs. Until, of course he decided we were done with that gait.
A good lesson horse doesn’t do what you ask at the press of a button. Where is the learning in that? A good lesson horse does what you ask when you ask correctly.
At the same time a good lesson horse cuts the rider some slack. As long as your request is framed reasonably well, you will get a reasonable response. In contrast, Previous Horse was not a reasonable horse. If I asked for anything, his first response was, No. Not possible. If I knew deep in my heart that my aids were correct and I insisted, he would see things my way. At the first sign of weakness or doubt, he would insist that I was the one in the wrong. He won those discussions more often than he should have.
So, good lesson horses are difficult enough to help you learn but kind enough to reward you for getting close. Priceless.
What have you learned from lesson horses?
4 thoughts on “Lesson Horses”
Lesson horses could teach union organizers a thing or two. They are real professionals and are worth their weight in gold. Lesson horses – the good ones – will do their utmost to make sure that their passenger comes home safe and sound. They are appreciated after the fact – when someone has learned enough to realize what a gem that lesson horse really was.
Remember that Catch started out as a lesson horse? Not a good one.
Catch was culled as a lesson horse within days of being put into the program.
I seem to recall riding him more than that. Nancy (Avenel) said that he was one of only two truly evil horses she’d known. But my next two (Priney and Chief) were heaven-sent, so i guess it balances out.
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