Operation New Trainer: Successful

two friends, about to get their butts kicked...

Yesterday evening I went out to a barn near me that is run by a fairly accomplished eventing rider and trainer to meet her, check out her place, and watch her teach a lesson. At this stage in the game, Dino and I could use a little professional guidance as we learn how to be badass eventers. I wanted to get a feel for the trainer, her program, and her teaching style before I signed us up for a lesson and hauled my pony over there.

I will admit, I was nervous about it all day! I haven't started with a new trainer in YEARS. Years. Not to mention I've never ridden with anyone who has such impressive credentials as the trainer I met last night - I knew of her because she was on one of the High Performance Eventing training lists back when I worked at the USEF in HP Eventing. While that job helped reinforce the fact that everyone is just a human being just like me, no matter what their title or accomplishments, I was still anxious about meeting her. You only get one chance to make a good first impression and all that.

Thankfully, my partner in crime Rachel was able to get off of work early and come with me. She's really good at slapping me back to reality when I get too anxious about something.

Not that I had anything at all to be anxious about, because the whole experience was absolutely awesome. The trainer - and every single person in the barn - was so, so friendly and nice. Literally everyone was smiling, and said "hi" to Rachel and I. I chatted with the property owner for a while since she is actually looking for a GRP, and she grilled me all about Dino, his breeding, and where I got him.

The property itself is absolutely beautiful... when you think about your dream barn, this place is it. Small, friendly, cozy, and totally gorgeous. The indoor is lovely with lots of big windows, and there is loads of turnout for all of the horses. The energy there is so positive and welcoming, and the facility has a great feel to it, which is really important to me.

After chatting with some students and boarders, we all headed to the indoor for the lesson. The two women riding were around my age and my ability level - young professionals just getting started in the sport, and both of them are currently running BN. One rider explained that she had come to this trainer with a lot of anxiety about jumping, and only wanted to do dressage, but she had gained so much confidence and improved so much that now she is eventing! If that isn't a great testimonial, I don't know what is.

I really liked the trainer's teaching style: she was no-nonsense, but very kind. She made her students and their horses work hard, but never chastised them or talked down to them. Even though there were two riders in the lesson, she took the time to work with each of them individually during their flatwork warm-up, ironing out any wrinkles they had before the jumping began. It was definitely not a one-size-fits-all kind of lesson, which I really liked. I also noticed that all of the horses in her program went REALLY well on the flat... another sign of good training. Every horse and rider also improved from the beginning of the lesson to the end, both on the flat and over fences. The trainer took the time to break things down when riders were having difficulty, and everyone ended on a good note.

Needless to say, I really liked what I saw! I'll be scheduling a lesson for Dino and I very, very soon.


  1. You could be talking about my barn and me, the person who went to the eventing trainer for Dressage because she was afraid of jumping and got totally rewired. That sounds like an AWESOME place! Can't wait to see you guys as badass eventers. Gotta put that vest to good use, right?

  2. Sounds like a cool new opportunity! :)

  3. oooh i'm so excited for you, and it sounds like a great program! there's always so much anxiety about starting with someone new - but i love that this trainer seems to focus so much on building confidence. so so so key. have fun!!

  4. This opportunity sounds awesome and I'm looking forward to reading more!

  5. Woohoo! I am so glad it went well. Finding the right trainer is so important, but can be so difficult.


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