...if this sharing of Winston thing is going to work out. Heavy sigh. Pout.
J took a lesson with Katy on Tuesday and that evening I talked to J about how it went. "I'm not sure", she said, "if I am the right person. He's so young. I don't know what to do with him." I sensed that she was frustrated by her lesson (Katy isn't her regular trainer). I encouraged her to spend some time, on her own, with Winston getting to know him. She agreed and also asked if I would be open to her taking lessons on Winston with her regular trainer.
I thought about that request and quickly decided that I agreed it would be beneficial to have another trainer look at Winston. I like Katy a lot and the work she does to help him release his back is very beneficial. But, I also feel like I am treading water. Katy treats Winston like he is a rank beginner and he's not. We have successfully shown at training level 3 and were schooling 1st level with Gayle before the move. I have to confess that when I ride Winston, I use Katy's methods to get him warmed up and then I ride him the way Gayle taught me. J's trainer, Ale ("Alley"), trains FEI level horses whereas Katy strictly trains beginners (riders and horses). I called J Wednesday morning and said I would happy for her to set up a lesson with Ale.
Wednesday afternoon, J came over and rode Winston again. Brett said she seemed a bit nervous around Winston but that they appeared to do fine. J called me last night and said, again, that she didn't think she was the right person to help Winston advance. She had spoken with Ale and he was willing to give me a lesson -- "Not you?" I asked. "No, I want you to get his opinion." I asked if she wanted to come watch and she was noncommittal. We can't get our trailer up the long, steep, rutted narrow dirt road to his barn so Ale would have to come here. She didn't think he would be willing to do that on a regular basis as he is busy at the barn where he works. She doesn't want to ride Winston unless Ale thinks they are a good fit and she wants to ride Winston in lessons with him.
J didn't ride Winston today and she has not made plans to ride him next week. If my lesson happens this weekend (rain in the forecast) with Ale, I will talk to her about his impressions. I understand where J is coming from; she has had a couple bad falls resulting in a broken back and a broken shoulder. She told me that Winston bucked when Katy was riding him in part of her lesson. I told her that you can't argue with Winston and he only bucks when he is frustrated. I told her that when I feel he is having trouble understanding something and starting to lose it, I take a break; do something else that he does well; and come back to the difficult concept in a different way or on another day. Katy is confident and has a good seat. She is comfortable pushing the envelope in a way that I am not. I think J is used to riding older, better educated horses. I get that and I don't want her riding him if she isn't having fun. I understand Winston. I never push him to the point of frustration. I'm patiently persistent. I didn't think he was a complicated horse but maybe he is.
I just know that I am disappointed. I like J so much and was hoping she and Winston would hit it off. ...back to the drawing board.