Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Ladder of Progress

Knocked me off its rungs last night.

Gah, I hate when that happens, and it always does, just when you are cocky enough to think it can't ever happen again.

Last night was lesson night. I was so happy with Ben's progress over the last few days, I just couldn't wait to show my trainer our work. Yes, dear trainer, I'm not just a slug in the saddle, I am teachable. I can learn. I can make things go better.

Hmm, well, to say the lesson was a disaster would be an overstatement. The truth is, it was still a good ride, but it just wasn't AS good as I had had on Sunday and Monday. So I was a little bummed about that, but then again, as my barn mate told me, Its better to have crappy rides while under the keen eye of a trainer, because you can then fix things on the spot. This is true, though, had I ridden better, I doubt those things would've been around at all.

Looking back, my head just wasn't in the game. I was more focused on wondering why things werent going as well as they had days prior, instead of buckling down and riding the horse I had in front of me. And the reality is, when your head is in the clouds you miss time, misjudge, and miss opportunity.

The good parts: better walk, better trot transitions, better circles.
The bad parts: shitty canter departs, shitty canter downward transitions, and loss of connection, shitty half halts.

The good news is that we still got done what was needed, and I can say that all of our faults were entirely my fault, which means, if I can somehow get myself together, we can actually have good rides.

I was also reminded that I need to be schooling him over poles, and that I cannot ignore the canter...because in fact, not working on something makes it worse, as evidenced by my lesson. Grrr, fine.

After the lesson we did have a milestone achievement: we cooled out on the race track. Ben had only been out there a couple of times which was about a year ago. I've been wanting (and my trainer has been hounding me) to get him out there, in the bigger space, and start working him. That's all well and good - but I didn't want to take him out the first time alone. So as it turned out, it stopped raining, and I was able to take him out there with a barn mate who also wanted to get her horse out.

Ben was a complete and utter slug. He clearly feels as if he has nowhere to be, and you may as well slow down and enjoy the scenery. If he knew he was on a racetrack he computed that to showing his rider that he had no desire for speed. I actually loved it- he was a solid citizen out there, he had a super small skin-shiver type spook at some barking dogs next door, and that was it. Good boy!

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