Coping Mechanism



To get me through the dark abyss that is Sunny’s current behavior, I rely on a very handsome coping mechanism!




My lesson last night was the type of night you spend all day watching the weather and wondering if you should cancel but then all of a sudden it is time to drive to your lesson and so you just go with it. If I would have cancelled, then the storm wouldn’t have hit at all, but because I decided to go, of course, the storm did NOT miss our area and instead hit with a miniature fury shortly before and during my lengthy drive home.


Great night for a ride, amirite!?

Great night for a ride, amirite!?


Despite being due for a little joint lovin’ and being a titch draggy on the left side, this dude worked his butt off for me last night and we had a lovely dressage lesson!



I had a co-lesson again, for the first time in a while, and I think it was another great experience for both of us. I’ll admit I get used to having private lessons and having all of the personal attention makes me feel like I am progressing at a faster pace than I would be if I had to share. BUT, there are also some huge benefits of having to share the arena as well.

The Rubber Curry Comb recently blogged about trying to transition one of her lesson students to a group lesson and supplied some unique perspective about teaching private lessons. She noted that “The trouble with teaching a child, or indeed a private lesson, is that you can end up micro-managing the client. Telling them when to circle or change the rein. With this client I have tried unsuccessfully to get her to use her initiative by telling her to “change the rein wherever she likes” but I think her low confidence and intrinsic nature means she is reluctant to take the lead.” (The Transition From Teaching To Coaching)

I was like um…have you been watching MY lessons?!?!!? It’s not that I turn my brain completely off during my lessons but I am very guilty of, as a student, becoming complacent in this particular category. I am more than happy to allow my trainer to dictate my every move and then I try my very best to do a better and better job at each thing. It’s not terrible. It’s just missing out on a part of the well-rounded education I COULD be getting. It also contributes heavily to feeling more lost when riding outside of my lessons (ohhhhhhhhh, you mean like when you’re riding Sunny??! Ohhhhhh, weird! Huh, wonder if that is a contributing factor?!)

My trainer is always trying to teach me things I can do to warm up the horse on my own and I am getting better at just starting out working through some stuff independently at the beginning of each lesson. But still, sometimes it will occur to me that I have walked three full laps having not asked for anything or prepared for anything. Having to share the arena and having another person riding in the lesson last night meant that I had to manage my shit. I had to think of productive things to do to keep us both engaged when it wasn’t my turn and keep in mind arena traffic rules. It was great!

We worked on some turns on the forehand and then spiraling out to canter transitions. It was cool, and Mc was awesome. Our transitions were great last night and the only really bad one was totally my fault. It was a down transition from the canter and I just completely crumpled my ribcage (it’s my favorite thing to do!). Hulk smash you down to walk! It was pretty sad. But thankfully my trainer was like, yeah, don’t do that… and I had lofty down transitions for the remainder of the evening.

After scraping the ice and snow off of my car, I rallied my energy for an extra long drive home. I almost ran, slow motion, into a large tree coming around an icy turn near the barn but other than that, it was just your typical two hour-white knuckle-have to stop on the freeway as they drag multiple people out of a ditch- drive home from the barn! Nothing this former northlander can’t handle, although I do miss driving an SUV.






2 thoughts on “Coping Mechanism

  1. i really love group lessons – both for the reasons you stated, but also bc i learn a lot from watching other riders. they might struggle with something (or do something really well!) that gets attention from the trainer – and thus more education for me – if that makes sense. so we get to hear about handling a broader variety of challenges than if there were only one horse/rider. in any case – glad it was a good ride and that you made it home safely!!

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