After hearing about Pluvinel, a website that lists riding instructors, and allows students to contact them… I knew this was the perfect site for me being in a new country! After doing lots of searching through “trainers neat me” plus further research, I found a trainer who I felt was a good match. Within an hour of reaching out, he had contacted me and set up a lesson!
On Thursday, my friend Camilla (founder of Pluvinel), drove me out to Drammen for my lesson and to take photos. I had a great time meeting my trainer, Tony, a fantastic trainer and former Olympian. I then had the pleasure of meeting my mount, a lovely young gelding who Tony has schooled up to the 1.20m level at home. I was shown my tack, horse, brushes, and given the go ahead – so I got my horse ready (cross tied, un-blanketed, brushed him and hooves picked, saddled, martingaled, and bridled) and headed to the massive indoor while buckling my helmet and velcro-ing my gloves. The riding center was unlike most American barns. With many different doors and buildings, it looked more like a fortress than a barn! So cool. I took my horse into the L shaped indoor arena, and headed to the ring with no jumps, and walked him around until Tony waved us over.
I walked my horse into the jumping ring, where four 1.10m fences were placed, and met Tony. He was so friendly, and good at English!, and he began by asking me to halt – and pointed out some things about my position: to keep my leg a bit further back and thumbs up. As we began trotting around Tony asked me to get my horse more on the bit, and asked me to ride further back and not lean forward. We then progressed into extending down the long side, collecting down the short side, and focusing on lifting up in the turns with both my body and inside hand while supporting the horse with my outside leg, getting him very round in the turns. Soon we picked up the canter, Tony reminded me to keep pushing my heels down and then stopped me to put my stirrups up one hole. As we cantered around the arena, we worked on keeping a good pace, rhythm, and control.
Working our way up to jump, Tony placed three poles on a bending line and asked me to canter the first and last one. We did this several times in each direction, focusing on staying very straight after the pole – almost heading into the wall before turning – making sure the horse stayed straight after the jump. Once I was able to keep a good pace, keeping my horse under control and balanced to the pole, with nice straight lines after, Tony introduced a low jump. After the bending line of poles, we would come across the arena and over a .5 meter vertical. With the focus staying on keeping straight after the obstacle, lifting in the turns, leg on, half halts, and my own position. We did the small course several times, and then the lesson was complete! Tony mentioned that I kept a nice even ride of good general riding, and that once I begin to fix some of my bad habits I’ll be on a good path and then the bigger fences will come. We were both very happy, and look forward to our next lesson. I liked this little horse very much, and think that I will learn a lot from him. A great introduction to Tony Hansen, and thanks for the introduction Pluvinel!