Vermont State of Mind

I am currently in Vermont at my friend, Gwen’s house.  She took me to her barn and I got to have a lesson with her trainer.  Now, I’m a chicken, so getting me on any horse other than my own is a feat.  I was mounted on a 22 yo 16.2 hh FEI schoolmaster.  The problem was, if you were heavy with your hands he went faster instead of stopping.  Well, I’m not good with not stopping.  You just think “maybe I want to stop” and PJ slams on the breaks.  I like that.  But I trusted Gwen enough to trust her trainer and I rode through it. And I’m glad I did because I had a blast.

We didn’t do anything above first level stuff but Gwen’s trainer, Renee Vanderwerken (www.shanderhof-farm.com), focused immediately on my weak points, especially not having my calf on the horse and using my heel too much.  I was afraid to canter her horse because I was having trouble stopping, but I was proud of myself that I did it anyway.  He had the nicest canter, so I needn’t have worried.  Going back to trot was an issue but Renee talked me through it.

However, when Renee asked me how her instruction and subsequent changes in my position made me feel different I couldn’t answer because I felt soooo different.  I was on a different horse in a different saddle.  Everything felt strange, so that the changes I was making to my position felt totally unusual.  I can’t wait to get home and work on PJ.  It would be great to be able to trailer PJ up here to have a lesson with her, but since I don’t have my own truck and trailer that most likely will not happen.  She didn’t say anything that was off the mark from my instructor, but being on a different horse made me think about the same things in a different way.  It’s also amazingly beautiful here.  I don’t want to go home but yet I want to go home and try what I learned!

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