I feel like my horsemanship journey over the past year has been incredible. When I bought Thunder, he was about as broken and upside down as a horse can be. I did not know how to fix him. Nothing I learned at hunter jumper barns prepared me for the mess that was Thunder. I started doing research because I needed help. What I found is classical dressage.
I’m not talking about the stuff you see at the big international competitions with $100,000 horses that fling their front legs out like saddlebreds. I’m talking about the classical dressage training scale. It begins with relaxation. Thunder was not relaxed under saddle. He had no idea what I wanted. We started there.
Then I found this guy on YouTube called Will Faerber. His channel is Art2Ride. He has this video on engaging the back that revolutionized my entire life with horses. Why had none of my riding instructors talked to me about getting my horse to move correctly over his back? Why did everybody just say I should slap on a martingale? I started watching every single one of Will’s videos. I saw horses transformed before my eyes. THIS is what I had been looking for! Now I had a road map to follow in fixing Thunder.
For three months all I did was lunge Thunder at the walk and trot. When he started stretching, I started riding him at the walk. A few more months and I could get him to stretch at the trot with me on him. Now I’m a year into training him and I have a horse that has a decent walk and trot. The canter is still a mess, but that’s my next project.
He is a happy horse now. He is relaxed and he trusts me. We still have a lot of things to work on, and by no means is he a finished show horse. But he is so much better than he used to be, and we have a wonderful partnership.