Is it just me or have we become a society of “now?” We no longer wish to wait for anything. Everyone needs the answer now and will call you repeatedly until you pick up the phone out of frustration to make the ringing stop. No one wants to take the time to do real research that would take you to the library to find an actual book or peer-reviewed journal to find correct answers…just Google what you want to know and hope the first website to pop up has an accurate answer. No need to spend all day in the kitchen measuring wet and dry ingredients for cookies, just tear open a package and chomp away. Why wait for the evening news when you can check your phone 100 times a day to learn that your friend just ate waffles for brunch?
I will admit that I am not the most patient person. I have been this way since I was young. My mother will attest to that fact. I will scream at the slow person in the left hand lane of the highway. I will roll my eyes when the person in front of me at the store waits until after everything is bagged to try to find their wallet at the bottom of their suitcase-sized purse. I will shudder and weep for the future of our country when the cashier tries to figure out how to make change when I give them $10.01 for a $5.26 purchase.
My horses are doing their best to teach me to be patient. It. Is. Not. Easy. I watch as fellow riders seem to sail up the levels with ease while I continue to struggle with the correct alignment for a leg yield or keeping Ike’s haunches from drifting in at the canter. This may well be the first year ever that we aren’t starting with Intro or Training Level tests. Ten years is a long time to ride those same 20 meter circles. I’m sure there are ways to cheat time and get things done faster in our training. I don’t know how, but I’m sure someone, somewhere, has come up with some tricks. This impatiently patient person is going to do things the right way. My ego will just have to take a deep breath and enjoy the slow ride. Yes, we have used a double bridle in our training, but it is done under adult supervision. It will not become a crutch. Most days I ride in my snaffle.
The funny thing is that I can actually see and feel a change in Ike and I even since the championship show. We can now ride the First Level shallow canter loop with ease. The canter-trot-canter transition actually occurs right around X. Our 10 meter trot circles are round with Ike’s outside shoulder pointing the right way; those 10 meter canter circles for Second Level are still a work in progress. Our leg yields are more fluid and Ike is going to rock shoulder in and haunches in when the time comes. Ike’s medium trot finally has some power from behind and I am gradually able to sit his trot for longer and longer periods.
What is the difference? Time, time, and more time. We patiently school on a regular basis under Ms. C’s eagle eye. I ride after work most days trying to replicate what we had in our lessons. I read online articles and my Dressage Today regularly to better understand the theory. I get back in the saddle and practice some more. Will we be ready for Second Level in April? Only time will tell, but when we do, I am certain that my impatient patience will have paid off.