Thursday, January 9, 2014

Not Sure

...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.


  1. Good call.

    "I think J is used to riding older, better educated horses"

    The more you ride, in reality, the more risks you take, even on a seasoned horse - ask Courtney king Dye (who happens to be pregnant now!)Sounds like J needs to get in a better mindset, in the same way Winston needs to - we all have those probs pop up now and again, both horse and rider. Setting up roadblocks before we even get moving...but you are right, if she is not comfortable, its not going to work.

    I hope something will work out for you soon - where is a fairy godhorse when we need 'em? :)

  2. The trainer may be able to hook you up with another rider who doesn't mind riding a young horse.

    Bucking is one way that a horse can regain his balance. If this can be helped by a fresh pair of eyes, this may be a good thing for you guys. If the bucking is due to frustration, IMO he should be taught that he cannot avoid a challenge with dangerous (for his rider) behavior. Again, the new trainer may have some useful tips and feedback for you to address this behavior.

    There could be a silver lining here.

  3. Sorry that didn't work, but she sounds like she's not really the right person for your horse. Something better will come along . . .

  4. If she must have her trainer to feel confident, then it doesn't sound like she's confident enough to help Winston.

    And the FEI trainer sets off warning bells for me. It doesn't sound from your descriptions of him, like Winston needs to be pushed - at all.

    Hope the right person comes along for you. Can you tour around some barns and watch lessons to maybe spot a good prospect?

  5. if she's nervous about him, then it is not a good thing for either. you chose winston as your horse - she didn't so she needs to feel comfortable if she's 'borrowing' a mount.

  6. Well you have learned a lot already on this new path. If you persist I am sure there are others who are interested. I don't know how you do it though. You have a lot of openness and that is wonderful.

  7. Hi Annette I've just caught up with your posts from last week. Sounds like that particular lady is not a good fit to share Winston. If I were you I would read the signs and just back away from her now!
    Secondly, remember how much Aero changed when we moved to France? We've always said how similar he & Winston are, so perhaps Winston is more bothered by the move than you know? That would explain escalated levels of tension and worry on his part. In which case, maybe going back to baby steps with Katy is not such a bad idea.
    Finally, think about how much you used to ride versus how much you get to ride at the moment. A lot has changed in your (& Winston's) lives. Give it time & look forward to the stretch in the days when you might get to ride after work some evenings.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.