I’m calling “the slumps” over. This is due to two reasons.
One, I had an amazing private lesson last Thursday night. It was one of those lessons where the individual attention leads to a big “Ah-ha” moment, which means that the lesson will last far, far long than the half hour I paid for. Basically, I learned that I was both over and under communicating.
See, we’ve pushed our flatwork to the next level recently. Lots of trot work in a frame, lateral movements at the walk and trot as well as improving our transitions. While this has really helped a lot, the added difficulty has made Simon very anxious at times. I got a private flat lesson to address that.
Turns out, when I’m asking for laterals and upward transitions I’m using way too much lower leg. While he needed a lot of lower leg when we first started doing lateral movements, now he is not so green at them… yet my leg is “screaming” at him to move over. This is making him worried.
Also, when I ask for an upward transition (especially at the trot) I’m pushing too much. So he starts trotting with this big, bright trot and I’m immediately “Meh too much” with my hands, which in turns make him go “BUT YOU SAID GO AND NOW I’M BAD OH GOD I’M A BAD BAD HORSE.” And then he gets upset.
With down transitions, I wasn’t using enough upper leg. Turns out, I need to squeeze the shit out of him with my upper leg and sit up super straight with my core. I know that’s probably a “duh” moment for a lot of you, but I was only doing about 25% of what I needed to. Once I upped the seat control, he immediately responded.
Here’s the second reason I’m done with the slumps – I’m over second guessing myself. The way I see it, I can do one of two things with my current issues over bigger jumps and more technical jumper courses. I can either go back to the hunters where everything is comfortable, and be a low ribbon 2’6″ hunter with no changes for the rest of my life… or I can accept that I’m a work in progress and keep trying.
For a while, our mistakes are going to be epic. I’m pushing myself more than ever before, and I’m not always going to be super successful. Honestly, I’ve never been a naturally good rider. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am now, so it makes since that I need to work even harder to continue to improve. I just have to keep giving my horse the best ride possible, and when I inevitably make mistakes… forgive myself and reward him best I can for being a good boy.
Because he’s a really, really good boy.