Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stop Chasing Rabbits

Superfluous rooster picture. I was really impressed he was able to get up on the stall door.

You know sometimes things just click? Well, my instructor earned her pay yet again this week by giving me some advice that doesn't just apply to riding:

Stop chasing rabbits.

I'd been having a string of "meh" rides unless they were in lessons. If my horse was going nicely forward, I was reverting to a chair seat. Or if we had a beautiful trot, we'd go into a terrible tranter. Just a lot of "well, this was good but that sucked." I'd end on a good note by doing something easy with the horse, but I still felt discouraged.

I'd been having some crazy days at the office because my ever-changing job now requires me to work with the print publications, online publications, webinars, marketing efforts, and two websites. I just wasn't as excited about riding. My mind was in a million places at work and at the barn, and without a goal, I felt like I wasn't accomplishing anything.

Shadow would much prefer to chill out in his stall, and I would much rather chill out in my house than feel frustrated. I was tired after work,  and I just wanted to wrap up in a blanket and read me some Jeffrey Eugenides. So why torture us both? Whine whine whine whine whine.

Funnily enough though, when she told me to just pick one thing I wanted to accomplish in my ride-- I chose balance-- I was able to do it once I stopped distracting myself by "chasing rabbits."

I focused completely on Shadow's center of balance--Was he getting quick? Sluggish? On the forehand?--and how to correct it. Leg on. Half halt. Sit straight. Check the center of balance again. He's heavy in the right rein? Who cares, it's balance day. He's cutting the turns? Who cares, it's balance day.

Eventually we did move on to maintaining balance in turns and corners with some 3-turn serpentines, but I felt much better about those failings because I had already accomplished something concrete, so I could move on to another issue. I think a major theme right now is me deciding what we're working on, instead of just reacting to what the horse is doing. So I'm feeling good...maybe next week I will try to rig up some video to do a little more self-analysis.

This week I also listened to a Jane Savoie webinar in the hopes of winning the random drawing for her Dressage Step by Step program. No luck there, but I did take notes which I will share here once I feel like going to my car to get them.

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