Friday, 11 August 2017

Lesson Recap

I had to reschedule my lesson this week, and unfortunately that means I missed out on a jumping lesson and was there for a dressage one...again.  Between prepping for the dessage show, and our super smoky weather, I havent jumped at all in a while. I noticed my jump saddle still had my day pass from our xc schooling that was on July 22nd, so yeah, I better make some jump schooling a priority soon since I'm going away to an event next week!
They made a neat poster this year.

At any rate, our lesson was still a good one, and tied in nicely with the discussion Jen at Cob Jockey started about how reliant (or not) we all are on our trainers.

In the 2 years I've been riding with EC, she has always been very hands on and eagle eyed, giving me stream of consciousness feedback and directing me for the vast majority of the lesson. Lately, though, there's been a real shift in that.

It started gradually in our lessons leading up to the dressage show, but I really noticed it at the show, where before the classes where she normally warms us up she was like "You've got this. Don't underestimate yourself,  you know what you need to do." And after " That was well done, are you happy? Did it feel good to you?" Since I'm notoriously bad about having show nerves and being my own worst critic, I chalked that up as an effort on her part to sort of let me be and give me confidence, plus, she was incredibly busy riding and teaching and being a mom so I wasn't really expecting anything anyway.

Tonight, though was more of the same. She started out by outlining what she'd like to see me to accomplish in the lesson and the things she felt I could work on with Midge.

In relation to yesterday's post, all three of these pairs of breeches are labelled the exact same size. And yet...

Then, she sent me off with a "go get started, feel where she's at tonight,  and just do what you feel you need to" Ummm...OK?

So, off I went, creating the Midge I wanted in walk, where it's easiest. Then adding in some trot transitions, insisting she stay in the same round and forward mindset. I added in some suppling exercises to get her softer in the poll, and then some transitions within the trot...collect, move out again, now do that in a shoulder in position to get her hind end more active, etc, etc. Back down to walk and added in some walk pirouettes to remind her about keeping her shoulders up.  I kind of got lost in my own little world, and failed to notice the trainer feedback was...fairly non existent.

Until she was like, "There, that's enough. That's exactly what you want, now let's see if you can create that same feeling in the canter" "OK", I thought, "here comes the lesson!" And, yes, there were a few more tips and tricks shared since the left lead canter is still a bit difficult to really get her round and sitting. But generally, overall, the vibe was more "hanging out with a helpful, more experienced riding buddy" than "you are in a lesson and must do as I say". I'm not 100% sure how I feel about it, to be honest, it's a pretty big shift from when we were getting direction every second of the ride. The negative part of me wonders if she's just given up up me...this was honestly my main thought at the start of the ride because it was rough...Midge wasn't pleased about working in the heat.
"it's too warm for riding, right?!"

But then, it turned into the best ride ever. Midge became forward and really pushing, and we got a few really nice medium trot transitions and some really lovely moments in canter where she was coming forward and back just off my seat...big progress for headstrong, unbalanced ponies!  I'm pretty familiar with the program at this point, so maybe the silence was just because there really wasn't much to add. Also, EC is nothing if not professional and good at her job. So....IDK, the jury's out. I'm pleased that I do, indeed have all the tools and judgement to meet current lesson goals fairly independently. But it felt weird to be focusing more and relying more on myself rather than the outside input I'm now so used to.



10 comments:

  1. I feel like it's amazing when you get that trust from your instructor. Something has shifted and she clearly feels you are ready for the next step :)

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    1. Yeah, I've got way more input into things than I used to Not that my thought weren't welcome before, but lately there's been a shift, for sure.

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  2. That sounds fantastic!! My trainer is a big proponent of the morale-boosting only at shows, encouraging me to trust my instincts and ride the horse I have that day. It sounds like you were totally on top of it too!

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    1. Not so much at the show, I felt like I dropped the ball a few times. But at home I'm starting to feel pretty comfortable trusting my judgement on what I should be working on.

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  3. I think that EC was very smart. She knows that she can get you where you need to be but you need to have the confidence that you can do it when she's not there. So she let you work on it BUT was there to help if you needed it. After reading a lot of your posts it seems that EC is good for you and is helping you get some independence.

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    1. For sure. I rode independently pretty much my entire life and was OK with it, but when I came to this barn I felt intimidated because everyone here has been 'in a program' their entire lives and the general level of riding is far beyond anything I could have learned on my own. In short, yes, it feels pretty cool to have the confidence and understanding in what I've been learning to take it back to my little corner and be a bit more independent again.

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  4. I can understand your panic when you didn't hear EC directing you - I am the same way when it comes to lessons, haha. I am glad tho, that EC is starting to instill some personal confidence in you :)

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    1. Yeah, my first thought is always 'oh no, she's given up because I'm SO BAD AT THIS!' It's so weird how I get when people are watching, on my own I don't worry so much about doing it wrong :)

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  5. That sounds like a good progression in general, but it also sounds like EC kind of dropped you in the deep end. A more gradual introduction of having you take the lead for a few minutes at a time instead of most of the lesson might have felt less jarring. Sometimes figuring out you can swim in the deep end is pretty cool though :)

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  6. I prefer direction all through my lesson since that is what I am paying for, but I also ride alone %99 of the time so when help is there, I want it.

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