The Break Even Point in Horse Training

I remember pretty good when I was starting with Hafl's training. It was nearly impossible for me to ride in sitting trot as he was not working over his back properly, thus, he did not allow me to sit and swing smoothly. Thank God, in tests at shows in Austria, most of the time you have to do sitting trot so we had to train and train and train even harder until we reached the break even point: a steady upward slope of increased capability, more strength and muscles finally led to Hafl being able to use his back properly in trot and all of a sudden - I could sit and swing!

Then there was the next building site (and it will not be the last for sure): the canter! Right from the beginning this gait was horrifying for both of us. I tried both: no canter and canter till we dropped. Somehow, I did not try both possibilities hard enough because if, then I would have succeeded earlier. After our last training session (remember:, I really really worked hard on the canter: we were cantering till both of us were almost dying (at least it felt as if - thanks core muscles, I know now where you hide). At first, it seemed as if it should not work out. After some weeks though (when I was again questioning that approach), I could feel first differences! That was motivation enough to keep on cantering (and cantering, and cantering...). Even though there were sessions where it seemed to be worse than the day before, I could see an overall improvement. I started to breathe properly, started to feel more and more comfortable, got used to proper use of inside leg and outside rein and there was it: the day when he started to soften his neck and really carrying himself! I was almost crying as I was fighting for years now for that moment! And it was awesome! That was the break even point I also felt earlier with the sitting trot and from this moment on wards, canter is our preferred gait!

It feels more and more supple every day, though you have to make sure that the break even point is NOT the end of the development, it is just the moment when things start to pay off. Still, the work needs to be continued! You can never be good at something in horse riding, just better than the day before (at most!). So it is essential to keep on working and not stopping at the break even point just because you reached a new border of your comfort zone.

That said, Hafl and I continue to canter (Canter on!), starting again with some more advanced exercises but not forgetting about the basics which lie in more and more strength and suppleness. Not only for him, I feel too, that my core muscles improved, but I can still not see them - so way to go ;)

When you have a smile on your face while riding, you are on the right way :)

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