Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers' Day to my non-horsey mom

This past Tuesday I used up the last lesson that my Mom gave me for my birthday. I rode Clyde, and actually got him to canter on the first try, which was a BIG confidence-booster! Apparently he has been in consistent work so I am sure that was part of it. Whatever the reason was, starting the lesson on the right foot allowed me to keep thinking positively throughout.

The next challenge was to get him to canter right when I asked. My instructor set up two cavalletti on the circle so that I could trot up to the "jump," then sit, cue, and land a canter out of the second "jump". I did fine on the first couple tries, and then she upped the challenge, asking me to land the canter after the first cavalletti and then keep cantering around the circle.
I didn't do so well with that. I couldn't quite get the canter immediately, and when I did, Clyde would brake about 2/3 around the circle before I turned toward the cavalletti.

"Fol-low, relax your back, feel the rhythm," my instructor called out.

I realized that this is the same advice my mom, who grew up on a dairy farm but is not a horse person, has been telling me after my lessons for years.

I'm the first to admit that I am not good at accepting advice. When my mom told me, "Carli, you have to feel the rhythm of the horse," time and time again after my lessons, I dismissed her. "Rhythm" was a frou-frou word that had no place in the exacting world of clean approaches, increasing impulsion (a concept I didn't really understand), and counting strides. I was the one who decided the rhythm and the pace, not the horse. I ignored her advice, certain that my hunter/jumper instructor knew better than she did.

I didn't hear about the training pyramid until I took a trial dressage lesson at age 19, after having taken hunter/jumper lessons for seven years  (age 11 to age 18).
Duh! Rhythm is Step #1 before you can get to anything else! It's still something I'm working on and hopefully when I lease or buy my first horse, I will be able to move up through the levels.

Thank you Mom, for seeing something that I was too stubborn to. Maybe I should listen to you more...


  1. Aw, that's great. I never wanted to take advice from my non-horse mom either, even though after years of watching lessons, she knew quite a bit about how it should look.

    1. I can remember lessons she watched 7 years ago where she told me to follow the rhythm and lessons 2 years ago where she said the same thing. My reaction was always that she didn't know what she was talking about and that she would know if she tried it. Granted, it's easier to say than to do, but maybe if I had taken her advice 7 years ago I'd have progressed a lot faster!

  2. Love how you incorporated a mothers day post. It just reminded me of how many ways you can be inspired to write a post. And it resonated with me as well. I felt like I had a similar situation with my mother about soccer. I never really wanted to listen to what she had to say about the outcome of games until I listened and realized all those years of watching paid off.