My drive home from the barn on Saturdays is when I start to gather my thoughts on what my diary entry is going to focus on. Instead of giving you the play by play of my fabulous lesson with Maestro, or how great Alfie is doing with his new shoe, I wanted to focus on my horse trainer, and why she is the perfect trainer for me.
I started riding 5 years ago. My first trainer taught me so much, and she is the one that brought Alfie into my life. She taught me how to groom a horse, she explained the different brushes, she taught me how to tack a horse, and she taught me how to ride. Over the years, we became friends but when I lessoned with her every weekend, our friendship took a back seat and the teacher/student relationship was formed. With her trainings, I learned enough about riding to go on lots of amazing adventures with Alfie, from cow sorting clinics, long trail rides to even camping with him. As that chapter closed for Alfie and I, a new chapter started with my current barn and trainer.
Alfie and I started out in the Western world. Shortly after changing barns, I decided to change disciplines. I sold my Western saddle and tack and purchased a beautiful Dressage saddle as well as a beautiful English bridle. I will openly admit, I wanted to switch to Dressage for the simple fact that the saddles were lighter than the western ones, and my concern was Alfie’s back. But I knew nothing about Dressage. It wasn’t until Alfie and I were months into it that I fully understood the amazing physical benefits to both the horse and rider.
Changing disciplines was scary, different type of saddle, different style of riding, different everything. It took me almost 6 months before I felt confident enough to saddle Alfie on my own without asking my trainer to double check my work. But as scary as all of that was, I had the support of my trainer.
Not all trainers are cut from the same cloth. Some trainers are really great at teaching kids to ride, others are best geared for adults. It’s very hard to find a trainer that can teach both adults & kids.
Adults & kids – yeah, learning how to ride a horse is so different if you are a kid. First off, most kids are fearless and feel they are invincible – adults, yeah, we have fear, and we break, and getting seriously hurt not only can affect us physically but can sideline us from working and supporting our family.
The first thing my trainer Kari told me when she first met me was that safety is her number 1 priority. She told me she would never ask me to do anything I didn’t feel comfortable doing and she also encouraged me to tell her when I was scared or nervous, so she could help me through it.
I know what you are thinking, you are all thinking safety, yeah, all trainers focus on safety first, right? WRONG!! Having been in the horse world for 5 years, I’ve seen and heard horror stories of trainers who’s lapse in judgement have resulted in both adults and kids getting seriously hurt. The truth is, injuries from riding are going to happen. You can’t hold it against a horse if they spook and their rider falls off. If as a trainer, you know two particular horses can’t be in the arena at the same time because they do not like each other, it is the trainers responsibility to make sure those particular horses are never together, for the safety of not only the riders but the horses. That is what separates the good trainers from the not so good trainers.
I am fortunate that my experiences with trainers has been such a positive one. Many of my friends in the horse world have not been so fortunate. Entering the horse world at the age I did was scary. My trainer Kari has made sure that I have a rock solid foundation of knowledge & skills to help better prepare me in the event that something does go wrong, whether it’s a spooking horse, or a loose horse that gets away from their rider/handler.
So if you are sitting there wondering if something happened today which prompted me to bring this topic up, the answer is no. It was a perfect day. A trainer who is focused on safety first, will always come out on top.❤️🐴