Looking For Lessons, The Big Nope

Riding Journal

Awareness of the outside world. While I am not personally a fan of either bars or medieval torture instruments, I’ll cheer on whatever it takes. The Buffalo News: Free beer offer results in more vaccinations than all Erie County first-dose clinics last week, Tan, May 8, 2021. BBC News: Covid: Dracula’s castle in Romania offers tourists vaccine, May 9, 2021.

Unrelated photo for visual interest. The peacock kids at Stepping Stone Farm.

And now, the story I teased yesterday. [Looking For a Lesson Horse]

Read a post about looking for a jumping instructor at Lyrical Equine: Selecting a trainer. Commented,

This may be obvious, but since its jumping, look for safety first. What is their attitude when a horse/rider has a problem? Ive seen lessons that cause me to walk away. Are the horses careening about like racecars? Ditto. We all need support but shouldnt be overfaced. Where you fall on that continuum is personal & needs to match where the trainer draws the line. $0.02

Here’s what prompted the first part of the comment.

In an unidentified time, in an unidentified place, unrelated to yesterday.

Went to check out a possible jumping instructor. Watched lesson. Older kid/young adult on nice looking horse. This was not the trainer on a horse. Not the trainer schooling the assistant trainer. This was client having lesson.

Here’s what I saw.

The horse ran at the fences, hesitated in front, went straight up in the air like a helicopter, then bucked afterward.

Every fence.

Maaaaayyybe a horse will run at a jump from an excess of enthusiasm. I’ve ridden a few. They are rare and to be treasured. Rushing is more likely to stem from anxiousness.

The rest of the litany – hesitating, popping up, fussing – is a horse saying no as loud as they can. Any one of these behaviors is a red flag. All four is mind-boggling.

The horse needed a complete body check, a complete tack check, and then to go back trotting crossrails until they were happy with their job.

The trainer’s answer? Raise the jumps.

Bye, Felicia!

Did they …

A) Not know.

B) Get caught in a pressure situation. Money had been spent. Expectations had been raised. I imagine it’s hard to tell a client that their fancy show horse needs to go to rehab.


C) Not care.

or possibly D) Have a training theory that I don’t even want to contemplate.

In no situation do I want to be around someone who fails to advocate for the horse at that level. Call me a tackbox quarterback who can’t jump my way out of a paper bag. Fine. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

4 thoughts on “Looking For Lessons, The Big Nope

  1. If I had a dollar for every time someone [incorrectly] said their horse runs at fences because it “loves to jump”, I’d probably make more money than I do on actual jumping lessons. It’s so dangerous to rush horse training in general, but especially over fences!!

  2. My mare Priney did ‘love to jump.’ But…she let the rider set the pace. If you turned her out in a ring where there were jumps, no tack, no rider, she’d jump the jumps. And while just playing around, I’d let her chose what to jump, how to make the turns, etc. Basically just holding the reins to keep them out of her way.
    Dogs or horses, I’ll give them all the time they need to be comfortable with what I’m asking, and I’m careful about what I ask.
    But I do agree with what y’all have said.

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