We are delighted to host Sally Cousins as our 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.
The worst mistakes I have made as a rider and an instructor always involve trying to get too much done in one training session or doing “just one more jump.” We need to make sure that both the rider and horse have enough energy left towards the end of the ride so if it starts to go poorly there is still enough energy to be able to fix the problem.
It is also important to recognize that young horses can get mentally tired much quicker than they get physically tired. Even if you have enough energy left in the horse, if it is mentally tired you can’t accomplish much more.
It will be a problem if you do not quickly come back with new ideas, a different or smaller jump to start with, or more support with a ground person or instructor. If the rider is mentally or physically worn out, that is also a time to stop.
Suddenly, I got tired, all my muscles seemed to give out, and then I looked like Gumby. Kim very wisely ended the lesson. We were not going to get anything else done well.
In my teaching, I pay attention to the attitude of both the horse and rider when they come into the ring. Sometimes you can just tell that the rider has had an awful day prior to getting there. This is not a day to challenge them with new things. I watch for when the riders position starts to weaken. Like my experience with Kim, it is a sign of fatigue.
Like the doctor’s hippocratic oath, my goal in a lesson or a training ride is first, do no harm.