Today Joli and I had our montlhy training session with our coach, Nicolas Podetti. Nicolas is a French horseman who has spent two years studying with -and utlimately working for- John and Josh Lyons in the USA. No need to say he’s super skilled, and it bears saying that on top of being an amazing trainer, he’s also a brilliant teacher
We had our very first session in December, then one in January. Today was our third. I’ve had Joli since late July 2014, going on 7 months. I can easily say that one session a month with Nicolas has trumped weeks and months of struggling by myself..
Obviously, I can’t shoot myself riding, meaning that every time you see pics of me on my horse, one or the other of my photgrapher buddies has been kind enough to assist. ALL pictures in this post courtesy of M. Claude Macé, “festae” for those familiar with the AlphaDxD French Sony cameras discussion board. Post processing done by your servant 😉
Basically, for those not familiar with the Western way of riding, what we’re after is a horse that looks free and easy in his moves, with a relaxed neck, ideally flexed at the poll, and rythmic gait. It’s a horse that seemingly “carries himself”, on a lose rein, without the rider having a death grip on its head. It moves forward easy and relaxed, but is also very good at backing up fluidly and without fuss, and capable of sharp turns on the haunches and powerful stops
When I bought Joli last summer, he was *just* broke to ride. He had about 12 weeks of riding altogether, and was so green he couldn’t even walk a straight line ! He’d wobble to one side, and sway to the other if you picked on a rein to set him straight
Claude was using his recently aquired Sony SLT-A77II, and he’s not entirely familiar with all the settings yet. I could have knocked him dead for closing his fast 2.8 zoom down to… a maddening F5, which resulted in a bunch of blurry shots. But he made up for that by many great ones, so I’m super grateful for his help
I don’t mean to sound like we got it made, because we sure haven’t. But there’s been a lot of progress lately and I’m mighty happy with that. In a way, the fact that he’s unregistered and might very well never even compete allows us to have no real agenda, other than working with him where he’s at, and to have a real “conversation”, where he’s the student but somehow he’s also my teacher. I’m deeply grateful for this horse and all he’s bringing me, and to all the people who are being supportive in the way of coaching, photographs, or simply putting up with my equine obsession on a daily basis 😉