Johnny is working diligently to become a competent horseman. He’s mastered grooming and can tack up Moe in dressage gear completely independently. He can mount up from a block or from the ground. He knows how to ask Moe to walk, to halt, and to turn right and left. He and Moe have conquered ground poles and crossrails at a walk. The two of them are quite a pair.
I’m doing most of the riding instruction, which works pretty well for both of us. I have a moderate amount of experience teaching; I spent a long time as an instructor at a therapeutic riding center and have taught lessons to various able-bodied people throughout the years. Here’s the thing, though: I don’t have a lot of experience teaching raw beginners. Most of the people I’ve taught were either incapable of riding independently or had already learned the basics.
Currently, Johnny’s working on trotting. Moe has an average trot: it’s not very smooth or particularly bouncy. Moe tolerates a lot of stuff: he’s okay if you bounce around a little, he’ll forgive you if you hit him in the mouth, and he mostly ignores extraneous leg aids. I’ve been putting Moe and Johnny on the longe line while Johnny’s learning. He has a grab strap on the saddle which he uses so he doesn’t pull on the reins, and he’s working hard to feel the rhythm of the trot instead of worrying about keeping Moe going or steering.
Posting has been kind of a struggle. I have a difficult time explaining the concept, because I learned it such a long time ago and by now, posting feels intuitive. Johnny also learns very differently than I do: he prefers very technical explanations and watching someone do something before attempting an activity, while I just start doing a thing and hope for the best. (That’s my whole life summed up right there: just start doing a thing and hope for the best.)
Sunday, Johnny achieved perfect posting for nearly a full minute. (Sure, he was on the wrong diagonal, but that’s slightly easier to teach.) I’m thrilled he’s getting the hang of it, but I thought I’d ask the equestrian community at large: how do you teach the posting trot? Do you have any tips for explaining it? Do you remember how you learned? Any advice for the beginning adult rider?