As you know, I took a week off from my normal routine and went on vacation. Time away is supposed to help you cleanse the mind and recharge the batteries. Time away from the saddle on the other hand is not good for my riding skills. Now you would think that a week should have absolutely no effect on our progress or my ability to ride my horse. After all, Ike was worked by Ms. C, and I did manage to walk on the beach and boogie board which should both count as exercise. That is all good and wonderful, but a week without proper riding instruction left me feeling out of sorts and I realized during my lesson today that I require regular adult supervision in order to stay fine tuned with my riding.
I know many people who ride and train their horses on their own with only occasional lessons or clinics when they hit a rough spot. Some attend a monthly clinic. Still others rarely if ever solicit input from anyone and never seem to suffer any dire consequences from the lack of assistance. Ike and I would still be running into fences if we did not have our weekly lessons supplemented with clinics, extra lessons, and impromptu assistance when things go horribly awry. I am the toddler who cannot be left alone for fear of ruining my horse’s natural talent.
My first three rides after my vacation were not my best effort. We will blame one on Ike since he was a pill for most of the session. The other two poor rides fall squarely on my shoulders. No blaming the weather, the gunshots, nor the neighbor’s dog. I could not seem to establish a steady connection, find any thoroughness at the trot, and cantered as if there was a fire in Ike’s tail. Not good. The entry fees have been mailed for my last 3 chances to qualify for the regionals in October. We need to find our A-game quickly and get back on track. I might have to resort to two lessons a week until I find my riding legs again.
In order to advance during yesterday’s lesson, we first had to back track. Stand at the halt and flex your horse to the left and then to the right. Sounds easy enough until you are told your horse is tilting his head rather than flexing….try again. We ended up needing some ground assistance in order to unlock Ike’s massive head. Finally, success. Now you may walk.
Trotting was also challenging for me yesterday. And we aren’t talking anything fancy – just trot on the rail and maintain a steady connection. Don’t forget to half halt when necessary to rebalance your horse. I finally brought Ike back to a walk and declared that I felt like a “$&**# idiot.” Ms. C just matter-of-factly kept the lesson moving forward and did not let me wallow in self disgust. Good thing. With her coaching and guidance, I was finally able to find my mojo and ride my horse. With only two weeks until our next show, there is no time to waste. There are no “atta girl” points given in dressage tests.
Headed back to the barn today to attempt to replicate what we had by the end of our lesson. Wish me luck. This toddler is going to need it!
I had been away from the barn for four ride days. I could really tell the difference. Had hoped that perhaps a few days away would result in some bad habits falling away. No luck there, either. For me, it is amazing how quickly what little skill I have built completely disappears.
Hope you were able to experience what you regained in your next ride. Nothing like pressure for the next show.