California Riding Magazine • August, 2008

Horsey Humor:
Training the Trainer
Husband as defined by Jamie—
groom, handyman, free help and trainer by default.

by Bob Goddard

My daughter Jamie is always looking for new ways to get her non-equestrian husband involved in her equestrian activities. She has taught Marc how to feed the horses, how to groom the horses and how to muck stalls. He has gone with her to horse shows, survived horse shows and he has learned to lie about loving horse shows. Jamie even has plans to take Marc for a trail ride. I think she should take her horse instead.

Jamie’s most recent effort to equinize (new word) her husband was a very optimistic attempt to utilize Marc in the role of trainer. There was really no choice. The nucleus of an equestrian team consists of a horse, a rider and a trainer. Since the first two positions were filled, Marc became “trainer by default.”

After Marc set up the jumps around the practice arena—at the dizzying height of 18 inches—Jamie gave him a brief overview of his duties as her trainer.

“I need you to tape me riding. Tell me when I’m rounding my shoulders too much. That’s all you have to do. And remind me not to look down. And tell me if I’m not on the correct lead.”

Then Jamie handed Marc the video camera. “Don’t play with it this time.”

Marc boosted himself to the top rail of the fence and watched as Jamie warmed up her Thoroughbred, Chilli. As the pair rounded the arena and passed by Marc, he cheerfully greeted them:

“Hi!”

Then, as they passed him again.

“Hi!”

And as they cantered by again.

“Hi!”

After the sixth or seventh “Hi!,” Jamie was pondering how she could persuade Chilli to cow kick Marc off the fence.

Terminology was also a big sticking point between trainer and rider. Marc was determined to apply his own creative stamp to the meaning of various equestrian terms. This made his feedback unique and interesting.

“You have a nice gait, honey!”

“That doesn’t make any sense, Marc.”

“Of course it does. Anything else you want to know?”

“What lead am I on?” Jamie asked as she rounded a turn.

“All of them honey!,” Marc informed her.

“There’s no such thing as being on all of them,” Jamie explained as Chilli stopped just short of a jump and then hopped over it in a completely separate movement.

“Of course there is,” Marc asserted with the confidence of George Morris. “If you want me to help, you’re going to have to use the
words properly.”

As Marc filmed the lesson, he continued to provide valuable feedback.

“Your shoulders are okay, but you should lean forward more.”
Jamie leaned forward.

“More,” Marc insisted.

Jamie leaned further forward.

“More.”

Jamie was practically on top of Chili’s head now.

“More.”

Jamie dismounted and snatched the camera from Marc’s hand. She re-wound and reviewed what Marc had captured on tape.

“I look ridiculous. My butt is way up in the air!”

Marc nodded. “Yes, I know. I’m the trainer and I like it that way.”

Jamie gave Marc a dose of the “Not Amused Wife Death Stare” and then turned around and got back on Chilli without comment. The look told Marc that he better prepare for his trail ride.