Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Remembering what it's like to learn to trot

I put my friend on Rondo Sunday night -- it was about the fourth time he's ridden Rondo, so he tried trotting for the first time.  I put him on the lunge line so that he didn't have to worry about steering, but let him keep the reins in his hands because I trusted him not to pull on Rondo's mouth more than I generally trust kids when they trot for the first time.

It was the first time I'd lunged Rondo in a couple of years, probably, as I don't generally lunge much once training is over and done with -- unless there is a good reason for it.  Panama gets very bored on the lunge line, and Rondo used to really resent being lunged, as I think he viewed it as being chased -- both of my boys have always much preferred being ridden.

Rondo did great, though -- no meltdowns, the way he used to on the lunge line; I lunged him first without a rider to be sure.  It was his first time helping to teach a beginner to trot and he was pretty good -- my friend did have to back up my trot commands with a tap from the crop the first few times, but other than that, he was very good.  His sitting trot is slow and smooth, especially compared to Panama's quick, energetic pony trot, so I was glad it worked out -- it was a much easier horse for my friend to learn to trot on.  And even with Rondo's slow trot, my friend commented on how bouncy it is and hard to sit.  I told him he should be glad I didn't put him on Panama!

My friend -- let's call him Z. -- didn't realize how sore he'd be just from ten minutes of trotting for the first time, but I knew, so I kept each time trotting fairly short and stopped altogether after half a dozen attempts.  He was surprised and felt he could keep going, but today he mentioned how sore his inner thighs were, and I knew I'd made the right choice.

I am reminded of how sore I was the first few weeks when I was learning to post the trot.  He's not quite ready for that yet -- first I want him to get a little more practice sitting it, especially since I have a horse like Rondo who is easy to sit the trot on -- but soon!  It's exciting to show someone the beginning steps of learning to ride, because it makes me remember learning it all myself.

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