Are you gonna whine, or win?

Had a solo dressage lesson yesterday due to my lesson mate having to take some time off- I don’t normally welcome privates for dressage because of a few factors…

a. they cost more- $35 for a semi-private and $50 for a private

b. I have to work my freaking ass off in them, and nobody else is around to deflect the laserbeam of intensity off me!

So…Not always thrilled to do privates but yesterday I faced it head on. As I mention in my header (stolen from watching Wet Hot American Summer last night, ha), it’s one way or the other. Excuses or results.

Not so relaxed

Not so relaxed

And I, after bravely conquering a mountain this weekend, am ready for results! A win! Except maybe my attitude was the biggest win, and the lesson itself maybe wasn’t quite the win I was looking for. We rode in the outdoor, and the lesson objective became painfully clear: Break the concrete pattern that Oats and I have so lovingly developed over the years.

Easy, right?

Well remember that bit about concrete?

I worked him large for a bit, getting his attention and his ‘forward’ through the spooky side of the arena. It was actually fairly successful, and I was feeling like hey I can do this. We then worked on a circle at the far end of the arena on getting a few simple (note I keep saying simple, not easy) items:

  1. Forward
  2. Bend
  3. Direction
  4. Supple

And proceeded to not get any of those for literally minutes at a time. Yeah it sounds dramatic but sheesh I was working my ass off and Oats was going- NOPE! I’d get forward and then some bend, and then he’d root rudely or throw his head up. Or he’d offer to canter, and he would try literally anything to get me to pull him back and get him to stop.

What was particularly telling was when Karen was saying in a few I could walk…I didn’t even ask for it yet, and Oats reverted from his actually pretty nice work to being a total jackass immediately. Head tossing, hopping, throwing his shoulder out, rooting…ARGH.

So, yeah the walk part didn’t get to happen for another, oh, 20 minutes of sweaty torture? I was like seriously horse? I was done 20 minutes ago? Give ME a break! But this part, was the important part- the ‘not giving up’ part. Oats was frustrated that he thought we could go into our ‘normal’ pattern, where I would walk, and we would take a break. So he took it upon himself to try to ‘force’ me into walking before I even asked.

And to that I say- Good day sir, I don’t think so!

We went back to canter, then trot, then more canter, then trot…It was exhausting. I was sweating from my ears, literally. Oats had rivulets of sweat running down his forehead, flanks, back. He was literally trying to endure me out, and see if I gave in first! Well, two can play at this game, and I wasn’t worried, just kind of annoyed…So we kept going and going, until we got some nice, honest and good work from Oats.

Then I immediately came down to walk, and we left it on that note. I was still in awe of his lasting power- who knew that when he was really trying to force the issue, he could go- and GO very strongly- for that long? Not me?!!

Long held patterns are sure hard to break. I am chipping a tiny corner off with yesterday’s lesson.

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