First Days of Training

This trip has been a long time in the making. Before I applied for the Lindgren grant from TDF, I was daydreaming about how wonderful it would be to have some really dedicated time for training. Then when I filled out the actual application, I had to get more concrete about my dreams – what’s my training plan, what’s the budget, etc. And then when I was lucky enough to win the grant, I had to start planning – what barn do I rent, find a house for my family, organize the shipping, and on and on and on. 

And now we’re finally here, we’re settled, and the girls have had enough time to recover from the trip, that I finally begin with the lessons that we’re part of my initial daydream so long ago. 

Lily and I are ready! 

I’ve worked for and with Jennifer Baumert on and off since I was 14. I so admire her riding and teaching, and I trust her 100% to always be kind, to work through issues thoughtfully with horses rather than through strength. And hopefully I’m mature enough (finally!) to not dump all my months of daydreaming and my hours of planning onto her and expect miracles. I’m here for 6 weeks of training, which is amazing, but it’s still not long enough to fix every problem. 

Flow working on moving her shoulders in the canter

With all that said, I’m really pleased with the insights I’ve already gotten from my lessons. We did Flow, Lily and Frieda on Friday and Flow, Blush and Darcy today. With all the mares, it’s apparent that I tend to be too busy with the R rein, throwing it away, 5taking it back, and a bit too stiff and hanging on the L. Flow is very light in the hand, so when I get her to stay connected on the R rein and reach for the L, she gets a little firmer in the contact in a good way. Lily is the opposite. She is not always well connected on the R rein, but she really hangs and can be very heavy in both reins, but especially on the left. If I stay really focused on keeping the right rein connection, and think about both of them reaching on the left, the contact improves with each mare.  If I’m too quick to grab the left and throw away the right, Flow backs off and gets very light. Lily bears down and gets very heavy.  It’s so interesting for me to work on it with every horse, since clearly I do it with all of them! 

The first lessons have been 30 mins and more of a chance for Jen to discuss each mare with me and for her to have time to watch them go. 

Darcy got body clipped!! 😎 

I am so impressed with how Darcy is settling in. I was hoping we wouldn’t have to clip her, since she didn’t have much of a coat yet, but she was SO tired and sweaty as soon as we got here! So two days ago we fully body clipped her. She is much happier now but a little wild in the canter! We worked in a baby way on the same connection issues with her, and she was so lovely and swingy at the end! 

I’ve enjoyed the really focused time to get all these girls settled in, get everything Kate and I need, and establish a routine. I’ve especially loved having so much time with Flow – just grooming, hand grazing, cleaning her stall, all of it! I have the most wonderful two assistant trainers at home (thank you Kate and Hannah!!) and so I don’t usually get to do any of that. And as much as I’m grateful for that, I really do miss it. 

My husband and kids arrive tonight, and I have literally been counting down the hours. This is about 3 times the number of days I’ve ever been away from my kids. I know Jonathan is an amazing father, and we have wonderful friends and family helping, but I was going a bit crazy without them. 

Tomorrow will be a day off for the girls and a beach day for my family! 🏝️🌞

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