Showing posts from February, 2009

Mission: Impossible - Training

So, what did work? To begin with, we wen t back to basics to fill in all those blanks left in his training. E veryone thought that just beca use they put him in draw reins and got his head down that he was “on the bit.” They thought that just because he was moving forward h e had impulsion. They thought that just becaus e they could shorten his stride he was collected. Like so many people in the H/J world (and an alarming number of people in dressage) they had co mpletely missed the point. Of course, at the time I also knew nothing about the technicalities of dressage. I only knew when it felt right and when it felt wrong. And I ha d the benefit of riding my own horse who was super-sensitive in every respect and wou ldn’t tolerate anything but the lightest contact. I didn’t know how to hold a mouth or to pull, or to drive a horse into my hand with seat and leg; that was all foreign to me and doing so always felt wrong. Everyone talks about c ontact, contact, contact. And yes,

Mission: Impossible - First Steps

First Steps: Something you should know about Mellon is that his solution to anything a rider does that he doesn’t like or understand - from losing your balance, inadvertently goosing him with your heel, using the reins too restrictively to just about any other unforeseen offense - could result in a bout of bucking and flailing that often ends up with the rider doing a faceplant. I remember there was slightly older gentleman who came for lessons (and actually treated Mellon with some kindness and respect;) unfortunately, he was not an especially secure rider, and Mellon had his number. Each time he had a lesson, Mellon would dump him in exactly the same place in the arena, sometimes more than once in the same lesson. Week after week he tried unsuccessfully to ride him, dubbing him “Mission: Impossible,” a name which stuck and eventually became his show name. To this day, Mellon is a kung fu master. He can twist and buck at the same time, sunfish, rear, do handstands, sto