At one point or another, we’ve heard these phrases come out of our trainers’ mouths. Most likely, we’ve heard them all within one 60 minute lesson.
Each week you hand over your hard-earned money for an hour of pure torture. This torture includes but is not limited to: riding stirrup-less, using your muscles, performing maneuvers that make you nervous and doing it all continuously for the full 60 minute duration.
But the physical torture isn’t enough. While you’re riding way beyond your physical abilities, you are also listening to your trainer as he or she screams multiple phrases that lead you to believe you are never going to improve no matter how long you practice. Which brings us to the top 11 phrases that roll off your trainer’s tongue.
In reverse order, they are:
11. SLOW DOWN YOUR SEAT! We can sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Row Row Row Your Boat and Mary Had a Little Lamb as many times as we want to slow the tempo of our seats, but no matter how slow we sing it, this phrase is bound to come out of your trainer’s mouth more than once within the hour.
10. SHOULDERS BACK! Apparently, from how much our trainers yell at us to readjust our shoulders to sit up straighter, we’re all just practicing our best impression of Quasimodo from the “Hunchback of Notre Dame.” If it weren’t for our trainers, each one of us would be on the road to a diagnosis of kyphosis.
9. MORE CIRCLES! Doing circles in a lesson is just like doing the cha cha slide at your local bar. Ride to the left, ride to the right, reverse, reverse. Reverse, reverse. The song even accounts for the moments where your horse gets circle fatigue: “Two hops two hops, two hops two hops.” No matter how hard you and your horse fight it, you’re prepared to do 60 minutes of different sized circles in all different directions.
8. DO IT AGAIN! Just when you thought you had it right, you didn’t. You hear those three words that lead you to believe that you’ll be working on the same basic maneuver for the entire 60 minutes. The maneuvers you have to repeat multiple times unfortunately are not the fun finished product such as spins or sliding stops. They’re the boring, yet very important fundamentals such as having your horse cross over in the front one step or transitioning your horse from walk to trot and trot to walk what feels like one million times.
7. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You’re thinking it but you don’t dare say it. No worries, we’ll say it for you. We have NO IDEA what we’re doing and most of the time we have no idea what our trainers are telling us. Counter arcing — what’s that? Flying lead change? So does that mean I’m flying off my horse this lesson, because that’s what it’s sounding like.
6. FIX YOUR HANDS! We know, keep our hands inside the little invisible box. Contrary to the popular belief, the box we are allotted is WAY too small. We should all be given a handicap and allowed a box that, I don’t know, is big enough to go up to our chests. It sounds completely reasonable if you have no idea what to do with all your excess split reins (totally kidding).
5. BREATHE! Praise the lord for our trainers when they yell this word at us because we were, in fact, not breathing at all. How on God’s green earth are we supposed to remember: hands down, sit up straight, slow your seat, use more leg and breathe? We can’t, so we just cut out the breathing part since that seems to be the least important thing on our minds. And that brings us to the next phrase,
4. USE MORE LEG! Coach, we can assure you we are using every ounce of muscle our stubby little legs will offer. I’ll let the trainers out there in on a little secret, we have NO IDEA if our stubborn as a mule horses are blowing off our leg cues or if we’re all just flat out using our legs in the incorrect place, but when you say, “use more leg,” we have no more leg to use and we’re just hoping our horse starts listening to it.
3. GET AFTER HER! Nope, nope, nope, not doing it. I am not pushing my mare’s buttons today. I’d like to stay in the saddle. I didn’t think we were going to “get after her” in this lesson today. Yeah, I’m good on that. GET AFTER HER! Oh heck, okay, okay, I’m doing it!
2. HEELS DOWN! This is the epitome of all equestrians. Can we possibly drive our heels down any further? Next lesson we’re coming in with socks stuffed in our heels instead of our bras to give us lower heels. Note to everyone: your trainer will continue to tell you heels down even if you stuff socks in the heels of your boots. You can not escape this one.
1. STOP RIDING LIKE A MONKEY! Okay, so apparently we can not have a box to our chest for our hands because then we look like monkeys. We also need to sit up straight, ride at a good tempo, breathe and use our legs. Who would have thought there’s a method to our trainers’ madness?
After 60 minutes of having these 11 phrases yelled at us, that we pay for, we are ready to go to the closest masseuse or shrink, whichever. The best part is we come back the next week, our hard-earned money clutched in our hands, ready to do it all over again.
All jokes aside, our trainers know what they’re talking about and it shows when we enter the show ring and place well. To all the trainers out there, keep yelling these phrases at us. We like the results.