Me: ” I have no idea what you are asking.”
Former supervisor: ” That is because you blocking.”
Huh? What the ___?
Me: “Blocking what?” (My smart mouth started at a young age.)
Supervisor: “You BS.”
Imagine a look of bewilderment.
Assistant Supervisor: “What was your college degree?”
Ah. My Bachelor of Science. BS.
I share this actual account from my first job after college, because even though it occurred over 20 years ago, I have never forgotten that exchange or the take away message – Clear communication is key if you wish someone to know what you are asking. The same is true all these years later as I train and ride a young horse. If I am not clear with my aids, Ike’s response is one of bewilderment as he attempts to fathom what I have asked him to do….Haunches in? Haunches out? leg yield? Ball up and get gnarly? Halt out of frustration?
As we begin to introduce new concepts to Ike, Ms. C keeps me on my toes to make sure I am using my aids appropriately. And as I’ve admitted before, I’m not always as sharp as I need to be. I honestly try to time my squeeze/weight shift/leg movement, but as a girl who walked into the bathroom door yesterday (I’m pretty sure it moved on purpose), I sadly admit that I’m not always the most coordinated. Poor Ike. He is held back by my spastic appendages. Luckily, he is a very forgiving fellow since we have shown progress over the past year.
Had an awesome ride today. A full 45 minutes of solid work. Since we are just over a week away from our last schooling show of the season, I did ride Training Level Test 3 in its entirety to 1) See if I could remember the sequence and 2) to remind Ike that he must respond at a specific time and place – not just when he wants. We had more gor-ge-ous canter work. If only we could have this canter when we are out in public. We will just keep trying and practicing. We’ve been nailing our centerlines the past few weeks. I can almost tell you as we make the turn whether or not we will halt square. That is a great feeling since it is the final impression we leave with the judge.
P.S. My B.S. is in Biochemistry.