It seems like for every step forward, we end up taking at least 2 steps backward before the new step gets totally confirmed. But that’s okay, life is just like that most of the time and riding horses even more so.
Right now I am basking in the feeling of accomplishing that ever so coveted one step forward! And I know that even if we do regress again, it will come back even better than before.
So what you ask is the big step forward I am so happy about? Learning dressage is about that oh so elusive “feel”. I don’t care how many times your trainer tries to explain how to do something correctly, it just doesn’t ever click until you really get the ‘FEEL’ for what it is you are trying to figure out. Well I think that just maybe I am FINALLY starting to understand the FEEL for achieving that outside rein CONNECTION! For years I have thought I knew what my trainer was talking about but just couldn’t quite get there. Then I had a lesson where it really started to gel in my mind. My mare was being very responsive and listening and we were doing the 20 meter circle with the instructor in the middle trying to get the idea through my thick head when it happened! I really and truly felt like I “got it”! I truly love those light bulb moments where it just suddenly seems to make perfect sense!
Now if I could just fix my “right leg” problem that would be like the icing on the cake! Years ago I had a very lazy, backward thinking horse that got me into the habit of trying to always bring my right heel up to push him more forward. This has gotten tons better since my mare is usually quite willing to go forward but it still surfaces sometimes when she is a bit more laid back and I think we need more forward. Oh well, one step at a time and old bad habits die hard.
Since returning from my business trip I have actually ridden a lot the past week and Tiara is feeling so nice right now. We have been working on not doing so much lengthening, just doing short ones and then going into a circle to help us come back to our working gait faster and easier and it has been going very well. Of course the very FORWARD mare might resurface at the show this weekend, especially when we are riding in the big indoor, but hopefully some of the “come back” aids will still be there.
In the meantime it is Tuesday and I am watching the weather very closely to see if I need to head to Raleigh a day ahead of schedule as hurricane Earl seems to be thinking about visiting eastern North Carolina by Friday. At this point Earl could end up doing any number of different things, like hopefully not even coming close to shore. But after living in southern Louisiana during hurricane Katrina, I have learned that it is always best to have a contingency plan in place well ahead of time.