Transforming from Rider to Trainer

18 Jul

Megan training Hershey

Megan training Hershey

“Miss Jill,I just wanted you to know that Hershey is almost perfect,” sweat poured from her brow.

“I think you have made him perfect,” I patted Hershey.

Little did I know that this girl grew more from taking lessons and training a cantankerous and spoiled black Thoroughbred, named Hershey, than anything else.

Bought as a jumper for a very experienced and wealthy family, he did not match their image of an ideal jumper. When they posted him on CL he was draped with a tarp which he promptly pulled off with his teeth and then stood on it like he had just conquered the world. I immediately knew that this is the type of personality that I want at my farm.

I was impressed with his pedigree and his history. An unraced jet black, seven year old Thoroughbred with a price tag that I could not beat. My riding facility had progressed nicely and my students needed a horse that would not only challenge them and their knowledge, but be like all of my other horses, kind.

I brought him home and he ran around like a banshee for two solid days. He ran to eat, he ran to drink, he bucked the air, and shook his head in defiance. He didn’t like my herd and they did not like him.

He would “fight” all day with Buttons. If a halter was accidently left on one of the horses, he would take great pleasure in dragging the poor horse around by pulling the haltered horse all over the fields.

He did not like to stand still while being mounted, he would bite you if you got too close, he would pin his ears if he was eating, and he was flighty and fidgety while leading him.

Megan fell madly in love with this very ornery and opinionated horse that glistened in the sun and she welcomed this new challenge to the farm. We started on the ground. She learned to make him walk next to her and not in front. She taught him to take a bath, not to panic when he steps on his lead, to have manners while she mounted, and she did all of this without ever loosing her patience.

That’s what lead us to this glorious day. She rode by me in her Saturday lesson, my mouth fell open as I heard the riding instructor say, “Yes, Megan, that’s it.”

She had accomplished what few can, complete oneness with the horse of her dreams. She learned that training a horse is accomplished through respect and not fear. She always handled herself in a dignified manner and he just followed her lead. Megan would watch me handle Hershey and then she would mimic my methods. She observed how the trainers rode him, and asked how she could improve his behavior and his ability.

She has taught him to do a flying lead change, to canter in a collected manner, to jump a fence getting the right distance, and she did all of this with a heart full of love towards this majestic horse.

She graduated from rider to trainer. She has learned to correct and adjust a horse. Isn’t that the ultimate compliment. She has done what few can, teach a horse to be the best that it can be.

One Response to “Transforming from Rider to Trainer”

  1. aspireequestrian July 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM #

    That was really inspiring to read. There are so many children nowadays with no patience nor willingness to get to know a school horse. It was heart-warming to read 🙂

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