I was taught that the more eyes you could get on a project, paper, or anything really that you’re doing that you want to improve at, the better.
So I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone and bugged a few people to come and assist me and Chroi. One of those people is Julie, who has a quasi-local (it’s an hour’s drive from me even though it’s in the same general “area”) farm and teaches and competes at driving. I took some lessons with her over the summer and appreciated her experience, so I begged her to come work with us (since we can’t go to her because I don’t have a horse trailer) and she’s generously come twice now- and hopefully she’ll keep coming, however infrequently.
The first time Julie visited us I emotionally crashed and burned. There was just so much that she wasn’t really happy with, and even though I eagerly solicited her opinions and advice it was still hard to hear just how “bad” Chroi and I are.
Don’t get the wrong idea- Julie was very professional and never once said anything bad, but we clearly weren’t up to snuff and even though I thought I was ready for the harshest of criticism it turned out that I wasn’t.
Well, lesson learned and skin thickened.
Lesson learned and skin thickened.
The first time Julie visited us left me feeling very discouraged; this time I think we made more headway.
Working with a new trainer is always a process: you not only have to get to know them and what they can teach and how they teach it, but they also have to get to know you and your horse, and they have to learn how you all work and think together.
I think that our first session with Julie left Julie thinking we were pretty much a complete train wreck, and this second time she could see that we made progress. We also had some concrete and clear things to work on:
- Cart noise.
Chroi is scared of cart noise. Any time the cart rattles or creaks, especially when we’re trotting, she gets more and more frightened and she goes faster and faster, which freaks me out and creates a total disaster.
- My hands.
Julie noticed that I was holding Chroi back (because I’m nervous!) and that has led to a cascade of consequences in cart.
Those were my two biggest takeaways.
Julie brought two harness pads and two Mullen-mouth Liverpool bits for me to try. The harness pads because the saddle of Chroi’s harness is flattening across her back when the weight of the cart is added, and the bits because Julie and I have had conversations about stopping power and Julie feels a Liverpool would be more effective than the bean-link Butterfly bit I’ve been using.
But that’s a whole ‘nother story, perhaps for another post on another day.
In the meantime, here’s a pic of us, snapped by a fellow border and friend, who was walking her sweet heart horse past as we worked. I’m so grateful she just took a picture, I don’t get too many of us in cart! Thank you so much Barbara.