Guest post by Christa Myers.
Five years ago, I was first told “green and green, make black and blue.” Skip forward about 5 years and that statement never came to fruition, but I have learned lessons from training Ashira that are just important. Firstly I just want to say, a green rider and a green horse often times do not work out like my journey, and I highly recommend working with a trainer or your coach if you do have a green horse.
Patience. Above all my mare has taught me patience. The first three days of owning her consisted of attempting to get her on a trailer. If there is one thing a chestnut mare can do is be stubborn. All. The. Time. When I first got Ashira , I planned to be showing the next year; however our training went slower than anticipated, and it was a couple years till we were ready.
Doing something right is better than doing something quick. Luckily I went into training Ashira thinking to take things slowly and that I needed to teach her something correctly before moving on. When doing anything in life, you need to finish something before moving onto the next step. (See mom and dad, horses did teach me something) Life is like Legos: You need a block underneath you before putting a new one on-top.
Food is the way to the heart. My mare loooooooves food. Put food in front of Ash, and she magically becomes the worlds best horse.
Need to give a shot? Give Food.
Want to get on the trailer? Food.
Wish to have cute photos? Hold food in hand while attempting to hide it from the camera.
Ultimately: when there is food, there is a way.
Hard work pays off. While trying to teach something new to Ashira was always hard, when it finally clicked, the feeling was amazing. All the hours spent working hard is always rewarding, so never be afraid to work hard for what you want.
Training is not a linear process. You may be thinking you teach walk, trot, and then canter, but that’s not how it goes. Often times when Ashira and I would try something new (like being in frame), something I taught before went out the window. Literally.. it went out the arena windows at the speed of sound. When I first asked Ash to be collected around a course, her leads disappeared for a while because she was so focused on using her body, she obviously couldn’t change leads too! Once she was using her body, she had to learn how to get her leads again while using body correctly.
Trust goes a long way. I whole-heartedly believe Ashira and I would be nowhere near where we are if we didn’t trust each other as much as we do. And I don’t mean putting her hoof on my head trust. I mean believing when I ask her to do something she will because I wouldn’t ask her to do something that could hurt trust. So take time to go brush your horse, walk around and love on them. It will totally reflect on your undersaddle work.
I absolutely loved training Ashira, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for a show-ready horse anyday. However there were days I came home from the barn in tears because I was so frustrated with myself. But the days that everything clicked were worth those days two times over.