Wednesday, April 4, 2012
I remember when my mare Jenny was just three, and not yet under saddle. I was somewhat at a crossroads in my education and career, so I contacted XX inquiring about working student positions. XX was a three day eventer and had represented Bermuda in the Olympics. I knew about her from when I worked at a nearby farm between high school and college. She had a reputation of being tough, but before I coiuld over think it, I arranged for an audition of sorts. Jenny was barely under saddle at that point but I wanted more training for myself. At that time I thought that eventing was the discipline that I wished to pursue. I made the 1 1/2 hour drive to XX's farm, not really knowing what to expect. When I arrived I was shown a horse and his equipment and told to tack up and go up to the dressage arena. Good thing I was young and stupid! From what I can remember now, looking back, I wasn't even very nervous. During my drive I had combatted any nervousness that I may have felt. Clay was a 7 year old bay gelding, whose owner really did not ride very much, if at all. He was a warmblood/thoroughbred cross, and seemed pleasant enough as I led him from the bank barn to the dressage arena. After I mounted and warmed up (with XX watching the entire time) I was given a lesson. I felt as though it had gone well, but XX did not say much other than instructing me. It was a really awesome lesson, and I loved her teaching style! Ultimately XX said that she would accept me as a working student. I had an amazing time working with XX. She taught me a lot about riding but also about being a horseman. One day, when she was going to be in the area near my home and where I was boarding Jenny, XX volunteered to come see Jenny and give me a lesson. Jenny had only been under saddle for about two weeks when XX came to give me a lesson, and I had not yet cantered her while on her back. XX watched as I warmed up and worked me through some exercises. "Okay, ask her to canter." I turned and looked at her. "Haven't you cantered her yet?" she asked. "well, no, not yet." "No need to treat her like fine china," XX said. "Take a chance. Use your voice the way you ask her to canter on the lunge." I picked up the trot and tentatively said "And canTER". Low and behold, Jenny picked up the canter. Correct lead and well balanced. This was Jenny's 2nd show.