Disappointment Takes a Turn to Elation

Great photo of Ike and I...yes, I know, you can't see much of me.  That is what makes it great.

Great photo of Ike and I…yes, I know, you can’t see much of me. That is what makes it great.

So of course I was bummed that our show tomorrow was cancelled, but the money that was going to be spent on the show was used for an extra lesson with Ms. C and a clinic with Rebecca Langwost-Barlow.  It turns out that sometimes the unexpected can turn out to be just what you need to feel good about you and your horse and the progress you have made over the winter.  To hear from both these ladies that Ike and I are working well together and that they can see the progress that we’ve made, gave me a warm fuzzy feeling that perhaps I am starting to “get” what dressage is all about.  There is a glimmer of hope that we will succeed this season AND even more exciting, make it out of Training Level.

A big part of progressing is, of course, the half halt that I talk about incessantly, but the other necessary skill is (ugh) the sitting trot.  That was my nemesis today at the clinic.  OMG!  I do believe that it is going to be harder to master than the half halt.  I either lean too far back, or shoot my lower leg out like a water skier, or pinch with my knees, and most frequently, tense my shoulders.  Meanwhile, I’m also huffing and puffing and trying to move my seat with Ike’s trot rhythm.  It gets even more challenging when I try to down transition from canter to trot.  Ike’s trot as we come out of the canter is very forward.  Whoa, that is a lot of motion to absorb and keep my tush in the saddle in a somewhat relaxed fashion.  By the end of the clinic I was doing it, but so very glad that there is no video evidence of my less than masterful skills.

I find it interesting that there are so many things you can learn to do proficiently from reading a book: baking, cooking, gardening, and bike maintenance are all things I’ve learned from reading books.  In my humble opinion, riding is not one of those skills that can be learned from reading a book or magazine.  Sure you can read the concepts over and over, but to truly be proficient, one must ride.  Not just once, but over and over and over again.  But wait, if you truly want to master a riding skill, you must ride many different horses since each one is unique.  No wonder so many of us struggle to progress.  Who has limitless time and a barn full of horses to ride?  Not this girl.  So it means that much more to earn the complements from those skilled trainers…almost better than a blue ribbon. 🙂

p.s. We have ride times for next Sunday, so the countdown restarts…8 days.

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2 thoughts on “Disappointment Takes a Turn to Elation

  1. I enjoy your entries very much. Love the photo of you and Ike. While I don’t want to be too wordy and bore you, I find that the detail you provide about your various riding issues mirror my own, though I am of course at a quite low level at this point.

    Also, I find I simply cannot riding technique from books at all. Oddly, I recently purchased two for a friend of mine who rides……. :/ But for me, I must do it, feel it, and eventually integrate it consistently. Even if only on the two horses I’ve ridden. I really understood what you were saying there.

    Have worked a bit on sitting trot. Not easy at all, and especially if one’s horse is in “pony trot” and/or not collected. I knew instantly what you meant about transition from canter. Regardless of whether one is working sitting trot or not, you must sit at first in the transition. Very difficult for me. Good thing my horse has high withers and a neck…lol. Unfortunately, I have had video evidence — none of which shall ever be published!

    Most of all, I am so happy you received a great evaluation. That has to buoy your riding spirits a bit! The process / journey of refining one’s riding is what it is all about. The compliments you received definitely are in blue ribbon territory!

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