When I was younger, I did not understand the point of training rides. I mean, why would I pay someone to ride my horse, instead of having me in the saddle?
Now that I have a trainer that is willing to hop on my horse, I can clearly see the benefit of having a more educated person in the saddle from time to time. Especially with a green horse, but really with teaching any new skill, having someone with the proper feel to demonstrate the goal to the horse is always going to help than a case of the blind leading the blind.
It takes a lot of trust though to hand over the reins to another person, up to and including a professional. But recently I have found that it’s the best tool in my arsenal for working with a very specific horse like Smitty. Right now, training rides are worth a lot more to me than even lessons, though at some point I hope that will eventually flip.
Do you implement training rides in your program? How often do you use them, and why? Have you found training rides to be helpful, hurtful, or did you have any unusual experiences as a result of a training ride? What kind of professional would you allow in your saddle, and vice versa?