Sunday, February 11, 2018

Putting in the Work

As a working ammy who keeps her horse at home, I ride by myself almost exclusively and don't always get as much instruction as I would like. On one hand, I appreciate the freedom to "struggle through" some things on my own, but I also realize progress can be slow when you aren't getting help. With Emi getting sick (at the end of December) we've missed two lessons. We had one on the calendar for today and I got super sick on Tuesday night. After spending two days in bed I made it back to work for Friday. I mosied around all day on Saturday, finally riding Emi and tackling washing her tail. I went to bed early, hoping to be feeling much improved this morning...and I woke up with my eyes crusted shut. Seriously. The idea of putting my contacts in for the first time in a week was not going to pan out with eyes like mine. 

I had lunch with my family who was harassing me about my lesson plans. "Are you really going to a lesson today?" "Your eyes aren't even open!" "You better double or triple check that you hook up the trailer correctly," and finally "have you already paid for it?" Yes, yes I have already paid for it and I've already missed two lessons recently and darn it I'm going! 

Emi and I arrived with plenty of time before our ride. She was a little distracted but she's really a rock star traveler these days. It's so nice! We gave an update of the things we've been working on, which in a nutshell is that the mare must respond to my aids. Wash, rinse, repeat. Wouldn't you know, the mare brought her A game. She beautifully demonstrated much more forward thinking and better attitude throughout the work. I felt like I was riding a legit dressage horse! Show me a leg yield, ride this figure, shoulder in down the rail, change directions, repeat. Ride a four loop serpentine; "good geometry." Since when is my geometry good?  Now canter at A.  

We did tons of canter transitions, several on the short side and also at B or E. Emi got several spankings for bucking in response to my aids. When we finally sorted that out a little bit we were directed to a 15m canter circle and then to a shallow canter loop down the long side. This was a first time for us and it went pretty well! We continued to work those canter transitions although there was more bucking we also saw some really nice progress in response to the schooling. 

We discussed the fact that she's not being punished for mistakes, she's being punished when she's naughty. She picked up the wrong lead at one point (mistake), I brought her quietly back and she struck off beautifully from there. After one particularly good effort I brought her right to a halt and gave her a cookie. We let her have a nice walk break and asked the question again. She gave me another fabulous answer. Woohoo! We then did a short amount of trot work, which was so lovely and effortless. It's amazing what a little help will do. My goal of ending the year with a first level pony feels like it's not too far away and I'm so encouraged and ready to keep working! 

All sweaty - this girl worked hard today!
The view when I came home

11 comments:

  1. So glad you persevered and had a great lesson! She's bound to keep getting better with your consistency and good instruction, even if it's only occasional.

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  2. Yay Emi! I know that feeling of working alone. It's very much both good and bad, especially when you're trying to bring along a horse at the same time! I think you're doing a great job.

    Love the distinction between getting in trouble for disobedience rather than mistakes. That's so important for building work ethic, I've found.

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    1. Yes! Fingers crossed a work ethic is coming. Haha.

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  3. sounds like a great lesson despite feeling so sick and crappy! hope you're feeling better! must feel great to have Emi working so well too

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  4. I hope you feel better soon and I'm glad you were able to squeeze in that lesson. It can be really tough to ride when you are sick but I sometimes find that I ride better!

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    1. Maybe you don't have as much energy to get in your own head when you are sick. Haha. I hope I feel better soon too.

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  5. I hear you on not getting enough lessons and working by yourself most of the time. I drive 5 hours for lessons so I get them once a month, if that. I managed 4 lessons in January and Penn made a lot of progress. I live you talked about making the distinction between naughty and mistake is critical I think - they learn they can try.

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    1. Yeah...it's hard! I drive 1-2 hours, depending on if there is a clinic nearby. It's challenging but could be worse!

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  6. I would keep the lesson too. It's always worth it!

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