I again got REALLY lucky and had the opportunity to travel with my barn owner to a lesson for her young horse Louis. Louis went over to Glenn Hartigan's of Eurimports for a show jumping lesson since Glenn will be showing him next week at Chattahoochee Hills. Now Louis is a really amazing horse in my opinion - see Louis is an 18 hand, dappled grey, ex-racehorse. Granted he didn't race long but he still raced 4/5 times (I think?).
Louis may possess the most willing and sweet personality I have ever seen in a horse. Especially considering that he is related to my gelding who is very willing and very attentive but well... Liam bites.. in an attention gathering way. Either way we're working on it. Louis however does not bite. Louis in fact gives really sweet licks to the hands or face in a puppy dog way. I know he's Zeb's sale horse but I won't complain if he sticks around... forever. Seriously. (SIDENOTE: Louis is for sale and every time you see the word Louis that links back to his sale page. Check him out!)
Anyways I digress - I got to tag along to this lesson for Louis. The challenge for Louis is that he is so BIG that he doesn't really take the jumps seriously unless they're at least 3 ft, and since he's 4 it's not like we're really trying to go above 3 ft. So Glenn warms Louis up asking him to lengthen and shorten his canter stride, Carry himself on a canter circle, and bend off the inside while pushing with his outside. Louis gave us the side eye a few times like "please I'm so tired Mom!" Now Zeb is a pretty incredible rider but she said it herself that the ones she loves, the ones that tug at your emotions take a little longer to develop. Because you are emotionally invested and you want to coach them along at a certain speed. Glen having no emotional connection to Louis hopped on and said "You will do this" and Louis said "yes sir!"
Overall it was really great Louis is super willing and takes everything in stride so he of course looked like a rock-star. What I learned is that every rider is guilty of coaching their horse along. I'm guilty of cutting a lesson short because I think Liam is tired, and I'm easily swayed for stopping after Liam has given me 2/3 great transitions which is what I was searching for. But what about the fact that Liam should do that for me and much more. I should be expecting and demanding he listen to me and my aids, cues, and choices and perform them. Therefore I should be asking more in our work. Every time.
So the learning curve is ask more of your horse, you've trained them, and you've nurtured them; ask them to be at their best for you and be at your best for them.