“Had I caused this? Was I not riding her “well” enough? What was I doing wrong? ”
Lily at her most recent outing- a working hunter class for variety. She loved it!
Having ridden Lily since she was 5 years old you would think I would know her inside out, but over more recent years I have felt deflated when reviewing our progress. Over the last 4 years I have been lucky enough to train and compete two horses, however taking the time to get to know Terry meant that Lily was left on the back burner at times (this did not stop her being the most consistent dressage horse I’ve ever had!). She is a straight forward horse who doesn’t need masses of time in the school, but I felt her suppleness left something to be desired during this time. I was left confused and lacking confidence in my riding.
Had I caused this? Was I not riding her “well” enough? What was I doing wrong?
The reality is that many complex factors influence a horses training and its our job to manage as many of them as we possibly can. Less time for planning and executing productive training sessions can have an impact on any horse. However more sessions isn’t always good and fewer sessions isn’t always bad. Now that I have adapted my schedule for her training (regular pole work/jumping and hacking as well as schooling), she feels much happier and strong in her work.
In hindsight I think I did relatively well bringing her in and out of full work with the resources and time that I had. I now see with training any horse some things get better and some things get worse. And that’s okay. It’s very important however to not allow our perfectionist thoughts lead us to burying our head in sand. Keep sending them forward, keep working on their straightness and suppleness. Don’t be afraid of lateral work!
This year I also feel happier than ever to be aiming for elementary Dressage To Music. Instead of thinking of all the reasons why we aren’t good enough, I’m cracking on with the moves (not being intimidated by them). When I hit challenges, instead of panicking, I will take it as a signal to come back to basics and try again another day.