Monday, 9 January 2017

Learning to Be Independent (Again)

I'm finding with a great coach at my disposal it's very easy to put off any problems until lesson day. I  know I'm going to get immediate and effective help then, so it does make sense that way. The negative side is that I end up being a little inconsistent in my expectations for my rides, and I feel like I've ended up not actively problem solving on my own unless I absolutely have to.

That doesn't mean I don't school things in my daily rides. I do, but I tend to pick things I know I/we can do well, or things we worked on in our lesson. Things where the results are going to be very predictable and I have the tools fresh in my mind.

The past few days, I've made an effort to start changing that. We've been discussing show plans for the upcoming year, and I'm feeling unprepared on pretty much every level. Time to show some initiative and get back to work without requiring someone to supervise and motivate me every step of the way :)
"Why do you make me work so hard?!"


I think I recapped Thursdays ride under the unsuccessful saddle trial label. We don't need to get too detailed, suffice to say pony was unimpressed and there was some very naughty behaviour, partly saddle related, and partly I think pony tude related. Since she is a pony, we did need to work through a bit of it before putting her away and taking the offensive saddle off.

Friday was her day off.

Saturday, I put our normal saddle back on, but the pony of Thursday still returned. Told you she is smart. This time the bad behaviour did not win her any breaks or a shorter ride. She worked super hard. I really needed to reinforce the forward thing, since she misremembered bucking and running sideays through the oursude shoulder as being a reasonable way of expressing her feelings re moving her feet forward.  Of course, once she was forward and straight, it was all angry, downhill, pulling, snorty dragon style, so some further reminders were required re carrying herself. It was a really tough ride, but she was going fairly well by the end and was once again the cooperative, cheerful pony we actually like to have around.

Sunday's ride started where Saturday's left off. Generally cooperative pony, but still testing the whole hiding behind the leg and popping the shoulder thing now and then. On a normal day, I might have actually left it as good enough. We have a lesson Mondays, after all. But I was still a little grumpy from the previous days, so we worked on walk to canter transitions ie "Put your body and feet exactly where I ask and go forward to canter immediately" Hard, hard punishment for lazy, wiggly ponies.

Since I'm not all mean, I set it up so we did a 8-10m collected walk circle off the wall, then cantered as we came back to the wall. This is helpful because it sets up the correct bend, it's predictable so she knows she's going to need to organize herself to canter before the wall, and the wall is there to help keep that outside shoulder under wraps in the transition.  Her right lead departs are actually already really nice, so we worked to the left the majority of the time as that's where it's harder for her and there's usually a fight waiting to happen since she is not one to enjoy a challenge :)
Another diagram brought to you by MS Paint

In typical Midge fashion, it took a few tries and way too much encouragement before she remembered it's not an impossible task, then she steadily got better. The transition itself is a work in progress and a little unbalanced, but we finished with some of the best canter work we've ever done.

As a side benefit, as the ride went on, Midge became really sharp and forward and totally got her game face on. She wasn't even sticky in the bit of lateral work I threw in, which is of course our other regular nemesis.
Happy ears

A huge difference over the course of a few days, and I'm happy I actually worked through it on my own, chose appropriate exercises to help, and didn't get frustrated/give up when it got really hard. Rider education progressing, one tiny forward step at a time :)




16 comments:

  1. That exercise sounds tough! I'm struggling through a similar sort of issue, leaving the problem solving to my lessons and only doing the things I'm good at when I ride by myself. I didn't really realize I was doing that until reading your post, so thanks :P

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    1. Selfishly glad I'm not alone :)

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  2. Oh man I have been feeling often lately that I'm not as independent in my riding choices as I should be, that I've been leaving all they heavy lifting for my trainers (even when the answers are easy and I should know better by now). Good reminder to be more proactive!!

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    1. I'd like to go to a few shows solo this year, and I feel like thinking for myself might come in useful once or twice ;)

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  3. It all definitely takes time and you two are on the right track.

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  4. I do the same thing and stop really actively fixing things on my own. Sounds like you had some great rides!

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    1. Sadly, we're still at a new loss compared to earlier in the fall, but maybe we're on our way back up!

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  5. Wow I have been stuggling with this very issue. Over the past year of lessons I slowly saw my own plans for training my horse evaporate and I was completely relying on lessons for direction. The lessons were great but my home rides would be quite unorganised. Fixing this is a major goal for me this year.

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    1. Definitely a huge goal for me too. There's no reason (except laziness)that I can't be more independent!

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  6. Stealing that walk circle/canter depart exercise from you! What a good lazy-pony-waker-upper! And glad B seems to be stepping up to the plate when you demand it. :)

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    1. The thought did cross my mind, wondering what Dino would think of this one!

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  7. It sounds like you are on the right track. I totally get wanting to wait - I have been guilty of that because I lack confidence in my ability to correct it. Now I ask in my lesson to problem solve for my homework.

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    1. Sometimes it's a confidence thing, sometimes I truly have no clue what I'm doing, more often that not as of late it's just me being lazy. My coach doesn't change her basic input or way of training dramatically lesson to lesson. Since there are a lot of issues where I know in advance what she's going to suggest/say I have no excuses to wait! It's also a bit of a waste of lesson $ if I'm basically paying her to supervise and give me positive affirmations :)

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  8. Oh yay! Picking the correct exercises to problem solve is a huge piece of the puzzle all by itself!

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    1. Yes! Too often I practice things because I'm told I should, or because it looked interesting in a video or book - and unfortunately not because it's particularly relevant on the day! :)

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