Your trainer is your biggest source of both inspiration and frustration. They’re there to pick you up and dust you off before putting you back on the horse, quite literally.
But they’re also there to yell abuse at you and say things you would never tolerate from anybody else. We’re sure all riders have heard something along these lines…
1. ‘Leg. More Leg. More than that. MORE LEG!’
If ever you can’t hear or you’re unsure what your instructor is shouting at you, it’s generally fairly safe to assume that you need more leg.
2. ‘Please stop looking surprised when your horse jumps’
Anyone who has had a horse who is prone to stopping, looking or running out will sympathise with this one. It isn’t just that you look surprised, you genuinely can’t help but be shocked. Especially if the jump involved fillers.
3. ‘You’re going to die’
4. ‘Now just pop over that vertical, then the blue and white oxer’
This one has to be said nonchalantly, while pointing to a *MASSIVE* jump. There’s no question of it being lowered either, and you’re normally left deciding if you’re more scared of your trainer or more scared of the jump. Usually, you decide that jumping it is the easier option.
5. ‘Right, now do this and make sure you don’t mess it up’
Whether you’re two strides away from a tricky related distance or you’ve just been asked to perform a canter to halt transition, the good old ‘don’t get it wrong’ comments still hold strong. There are no words on how exactly to avoid messing it up, just strict instructions not to do so. We’re not sure why really, as we don’t know if anyone has ever actually benefited from this “advice”….but there we go.
6. ‘Oh look, he’s actually doing X,Y,Z for once’
The X,Y,Z can be anything from behaving properly, through to working round, moving forward, jumping reliably. Anything. When your horse has a better-than-usual day, it doesn’t just surprise you, it surprises your instructor too. And while you might be content to pretend that the horse is always this perfect and easy, your instructor is having none of it.
7. ‘Sit back, sit back! Don’t you dare fall off!’
We’ve all been there. Slowly losing our balance as the horse gets faster and faster or bucks more and more. You’re thinking that the ground doesn’t look like such a bad option at this stage, but your instructor has other ideas and expects you to cling on for dear life, no matter the circumstances. This is either followed by rolling of the eyes or a ‘well sat’ depending on the outcome, of course. If your instructor is particularly cold, you might not even get a ‘well sat.’ Just a ‘Right then. Do it again’ even if you did just sit the most spectacular bucking display of your life.
8. ‘Staring at your horse’s head is not going to make it better’
In other words, look up. As they say…if you look at the ground, that’s where you’ll end up.
9. ‘Just once more’
No instructor on the face of the planet has ever said this only once during a lesson. Never ever.