Sunday, March 8, 2015


Today I took a trial lesson from a trainer that works specifically with Working Equitation. She rides a big, grey Andalusian, has been riding since she was three, started breaking horses in her teens and has done just about everything. I like her energy and have enjoyed watching her work with her horse. She knows my distrust of trainers and that I am not willing to do anything that is going to make Ashke unhappy. She has a background in all types of riding and has helped with the Arabian show in Scottsdale. She offered the trial lesson and said we would go as long as Ashke was willing.

So, this morning, at what was 5:30 yesterday morning, J and I rolled out of bed to head out to the barn. We needed to be at CS by 9:30 for a 10 am lesson. When we got to the barn, the snow was lower around the trailer and J was able to pull it straight out without any problems.We loaded tack and I grabbed Ashke. He walked right on and was a trooper for the hour ride north.

When we got to the end of the drive we could turn right to a barn or turn left to a barn. We turned right (honestly, I missed the barn to the left) and ended up stuck in the hay field of CS's neighbor. We turned the wrong way. J thought we were stuck and was slightly panicked. I unloaded Ashke while she talked to CS on the phone, then pulled the empty trailer free of the snow. I hand walked Ashke over to CS's place while J got the trailer turned around.

Once there, we greeted CS and got Ashke ready to ride. We walked into her indoor and looked around. Ashke saw the obstacles that were set up and relaxed. I swear he looked around and thought "oh, I know what we are doing" and relaxes. I warmed him up and then CS started us on a couple of exercises.

We started with a walk pirouette:

I asked CS, "Was that it?" she said, "No, that was a reversal."

Helping Ashke get the idea.

Breaking it down.

Finally. A beginning.

CS said a couple of things that really stayed with me. The first was that she recognized that Ashke was trying to figure out what I was asking so that he could do what we were trying to do. Second, she said work him on one side only until he's got it before moving to the other. And the third thing was that we should work on this movement in the same place in the arena, so Ashke understands what and when I am asking him to do a particular task. 

  Working on bending through the three barrels.

He was much stiffer to the left, which has been the pattern for the past couple of weeks.

He was moving better by the time we were finished working on that.

Then we worked on our canter.

This was a fun pattern to work on. We trotted the long side of the arena, trotted a 10m circle in the corner, and ask for the canter on the circle.

Finished up with working on a leg yield. 

All in all, a most productive lesson. I enjoyed myself and Ashke seemed to as well. CS was kind and gentle and very clear in what she was asking me to try. She explained in detail when I asked questions or told her that I didn't understand. I have lots of homework to work on and some new things for Ashke and I to try and master. I feel very comfortable with how the lesson went and feel like Ashke and I would benefit from taking additional lessons with CS.

I can see Ashke and I making strides in our WE with her help.


  1. Thank Karen, It was a good lesson.. You and Ashke are partners.. Thats so important. He really tries for you. Keep up the good work and I look forward to working with you again…see you in a few days at expo...

  2. You guys look good! His trot looks amazing: loose, swinging. He's really stepping out! I love that teardrop leg yield exercise; it's among my favorites.

    I've said it once and I'll say it again: so so sooo excited for you!!

    1. Thank you, my friend. I'm pretty excited to have found a trainer I feel will be good for us.

  3. So glad you found a trainer that you like and feel as though you can trust. That's be so important to me in my riding journey. And Ashke looks lovely! That walk pirouette - you are both trying so hard and it's looking good. And I really love how relaxed you both look. Great work, and I hope you get to continue on with CS!