Tuesday, November 26, 2013
This is What Seperates the Boys From the Men
Is what my coach says to me. I've been told I have an innate ability to get any horse into a frame, almost to the point where it's a hinderance. I haven't had a lesson with her in over 6 months because frankly, I just couldn't afford her. You know that old saying; "you get what you pay for?". Yep, that's true.
I had a major lightbulb moment with both my horses in my dressage lessons with Daphne recently. I have been trying lessons with a few different people, and although during my lessons I am having good results, when I ride at home afterwards the following weeks things were just falling apart. Penny was getting extremely fussy and unsettled, William was inconsistent in the bridle which is always our struggle but seemed to be getting worse. I was becoming frustrated and confused. I was riding weird and it just didn't feel right. I was doing what was working in lessons but it didn't seem to be working long term and I was feeling pretty helpless. I felt completely clueless and like I was making things worse.
Enter my lessons. Daphne takes one look at me and says "ahhhh you are back to that again! I thought we went over this. Stop getting your horse into a frame. I know you have this ability to do that but it's actually a problem because the horse is not working correctly". This I know, and I don't even realize I am doing anything. It's a problem. I get on the horse, it goes in a frame nicely, then when we start to move into harder work it all falls apart. I don't want to be doing this, I want to ride correctly! I want my horses to do well in dressage and I want to understand the training aspect so I can repeat it with my young horses. I want to learn.
I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to ride with Daphne once a month when I can afford it. She twerked a few things and gave me a few exercises for both Penny and William and at the end of our lesson their entire outline and way of going had changed. William was steady and for the first time ever, truly reaching for the contact. Penny had lengthened her frame and lifted her back, a nice round outline throughout. I got the feel and engrained her words into my head. She said; "Tori, this is what separates the boys from the men. You can ride around looking pleasant and you will do well at the lower levels, but once you start moving up the levels things will fall apart. You want to ride properly. You NEED to ride properly if you want to do more, and do well. Your horse will be trained better, stay sounder, and find work easier".
She is right. I knew this already but my lessons sort of hit me upside the head in an Ah ha moment. I also realized that I need to to trust my coach, and even if I don't lesson for a few months I need to stick to the program. She is right, she knows her shit - bottom line. I need to not start to question whether things are working and just keep at it. It works for me, works for my horses, and that is what is important.
It's great to try new coaches, clinics, and see what's out there. I love attending clinics, looking on websites like Instinctive Horse Training, and watching videos to get ideas. What you have to not do is change your whole way of riding because of one lesson or one new idea when what you were doing before was working perfectly. You start doubting what you are doing because you hit a speed bump and just get lost in it all. You have to stay focused and remember what you have been taught.
Since my lessons my horses have been going better than ever. Each day is progress, no more frustration. We are ready to train with the big boys now...or should I say, men.