If anyone ever tells you that Instagram isn’t useful, please allow me to smack them silly. It was through the social site that I came to know of Katie and her lovely Lusitano gelding, Babaloo. It was nice to come across someone else who was as fond of classical Dressage as I am, and it was through her that I learned about positive reinforcement. She's been a huge inspiration for me, and it was exciting to talk to her about her experience.
Katie started riding in the 5th grade at a lower end, backyard barn with a hunter/jumper trainer. She then moved to a saddleseat barn where she competed at small tournaments, but she wasn’t super interested in competition. When she finally started looking for a horse, things remained complicated. She said that she had high expectations for her price range, but the reality was disappointing, even with Babaloo, who she affectionately calls Bubs. She says he was as good as it would get.
The struggle didn’t end there, either. Bubs came with quite a few under saddle issues. His previous owners rode with an overly tight noseband, and simply loosening it was confusing enough to cause problems. There were things that, while others would consider them normal, Katie began to question. That’s where she says her turning point was.
If anyone tells you that YouTube isn’t useful, please allow me to smack them silly. Katie came across videos by Marijke de Jong, a well-known classical Dressage trainer from the Netherlands. Prior to her more in depth Straightness Training program, Marijke shared her videos on YouTube. Katie saw the groundwork videos and was intrigued, but there was some justified hesitation in the beginning. Her trainer at the time didn’t have the know how to teach such maneuvers. It wasn’t until getting the home study set for her birthday that Katie finally decided to give it a go. It took a while, but the work made a difference in Bubs, and they have continued to progress with her new trainer. Katie says that as long as she has someone there to help, she will continue to work her way up with Bubs.
Tumblr // Instagram // Marijke De Jong Straightness Training
All photos are used with permission from theclassicalhorse.tumblr.com