We are delighted to host Sally Cousins as our newest guest blogger, as she shares her wealth of knowledge with us in the form of weekly training tips. We hope these nuggets of information can be integrated directly into your program at home and can influence the way you ride and train your horses. Be sure to check out both the Sally Cousins Eventing website and keep up with her on Facebook.
When I take a lesson, I try to make sure I am as prepared as I can be so I can get as much out of the lesson as I possibly can. I will make sure that the schooling I do the day before sets me up for an optimal experience. I get there early so I can make a mental switch from hurrying through my day to being able to focus.
I like to get there early enough so that the horse can settle as well or to leave time to lunge if that is necessary. I have an idea of what I would like to work on, and I give the instructor an idea of any training or riding problems I am having. I really value the time and expertise of the person I am riding with and want to show respect by being prepared.
I believe the rider taking a lesson will maximize their time by following some of these guidelines:
1. Be on time. I understand that things happen, but some people are habitually late, and then the horses are not warmed up properly, and the lesson is often cut short.
2. Be honest. I teach a number of riders that I see infrequently or who also ride with other people. I always ask, “When was the last time you jumped? Is there anything I should know before we start?” This is the time to say that the horse has been stopping, or that he hasn’t jumped in two weeks or he has been off with a medical problem. You will give the instructor a chance to help you better by giving them this information.
3. Be open-minded. OK, so my dressage instructor thinks my name is “shoulders back,” and he unfortunately has to say it every time I see him, but I also go to lessons to learn something new, to try something new and to hear something else. I already know what I know, and I want to be challenged by doing or hearing something no one has said to me before. That is how we grow as riders and trainers.