My riding coach has been in town. She’s one of my gurus.

Jen lives in Hong Kong and she’s been back in Colorado for a couple weeks. Since she arrived, I’ve had the pleasure of training with her. After each ride, soaked in sweat, I peel off my riding clothes and bask in the glory of the great work I’m getting from my new horse Falcon. I’ve even missed her yelling at me from her chair in the corner of the arena. Jen was trained in the German system and she does not mince words. Nein!

Jen left today to return to Asia (sigh) and I will miss her dearly. Tears are easy. Tears are easy because I’ll miss my friend and because I want so badly to steer Falcon correctly. I trust Jen and I will miss the comfort of her safety net.

I don’t want to forget all the great counsel and guidance she gave me during her visit so I created a list. While the list below will likely only make sense to my horse friends, we can all appreciate a good list of wisdom from our gurus.

Who are your gurus and what nuggets of wisdom do they share with you?

Jen’s Wisdom…

  • Loosen up his body. He has to be forward and supple at the walk first.
  • Get him listening to your half halts. He needs to halt off your seat and core. Do not dig in with your seat bones – that just sends him forward. Do not lose the integrity of your core. Use a little outside rein. And then give with the reins! Don’t hold him there. Don’t fuss. Get your leg off and halt!
  • Do not fuss when asking for transitions. Ask with your seat. Expect. Go forward. Don’t fuss with the reins when you ask for a transition.
  • Foward. Forward. Forward. Always.
  • Use turn on the forehand from the halt to get him tuned into aids. Leg. Half halt. Leg. Half halt. Do not go backwards. Reward him for going forward in this move.
  • Close the left fingers for goodness sake! (I have got to get this – it’s my nemesis)
  • Do not, ever, stand up. Never. Sit down! (Imagine Jen yelling this.)
  • No holding grudges. Make your point. Get in and then get out. If I have to stop and clear my head – do so.
  • Use voltes and circling in and back out to get him on the outside aids.
  • Shoulders up. Chest out. Legs long. Always.
  • Don’t get twisted. Shoulders over hips. Hips over ankles. Don’t brace with your arms.
  • If you’re going to get into an argument, don’t argue with your arms. Argue with your core and seat. He has to listen to your core, seat, and legs.
  • When you ask ask for the shoulder in – mean it- and if he’s not on your outside aids, use voltes.
  • Do not get caught forward on your front seat bone.
  • Salsa steps!
  • That was a warmblood moment. He just said: Really? Make me.
  • Pay attention to how you are with him on the ground and in his stall. He needs to see you as the leader and respect your space.
  • Falcon is not in charge; you are in charge. Ride him!
  • Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do you.

Thank you Jen for all the time you spent with Falcon and me during your visit to Colorado. I have the utmost trust and respect for you and your friendship is one my greatest gifts.

Your friend, Melissa

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