Sunday, April 10, 2011

OMG - Joan's Back

I can hardly believe what happened today. I've always been able to do things with Joan that I couldn't do on my own, but today was a real milestone for us. Just to be clear, I often screw up around her, because I admire her so much as a teacher I get nervous and try too hard. Having said that, when I'm stuck she can come in and work with us for a few minutes and fix whatever the problem is. She can never believe she fixed anything because with her there the problem just seems to dissolve. Here's what happened today, but I have to give a little background first, that I'll call:

Riding Rituals

I attended a spring dressage workshop a couple  of weeks ago put on by RIDERS (I'm Co-Chair), designed to prepare for show season and lead by Jane Fraser (a great dressage rider and teacher here in NS). It was very inspirational and one of the things she talked about was mental preparation and having a 'mantra' to say before a test in a show. She shared hers and it touched a nerve with me because without knowing it was a technique used by athletes before a competition I had already invented one for Rogo and I. I say it before every ride, with my hand on him. Today I added a piece about forwardness. 

In a nutshell it was a mental preparation for working on forwardness and, flaky as it sounds, it was asking whatever power you (I) believe in for guidance to achieve energy and forward. How shallow is that? World peace? An end to world hunger? Love and prosperity? No - forward is what I prayed for. Holy shit, save me, but there it is. 
And guess what? I got forward!
It seems hard to believe but here's what happened. We had a lesson and Joan worked on our equitation (legs mostly) and on ramener (beginning of collection). When we were finished with that she suggested I work on forward while she coached me. I'd been complaining about it to her for months. She seemed much too unconcerned about it the whole time I talked about it, and when we finally got to it it just instantly happened. How does she do that? I have no idea. She told me to trot on the rail and then tap with the whip, use my legs and post faster than him. He was almost instantly in this huge forward trot and I have no idea why it worked today and not any other day. It was warm and he'd been poky as all get out. It wasn't as though it was one of his forward days, but away he went. It also wasn't as though I haven't been trying this almost every ride to no avail, but for whatever reason, today it worked like magic. He hasn't been like this since the summer she started us when we had to slow down for corners because he didn't have the balance to speed through them. He's been slow ever since I've been away from her, but now she's back and instantly he's back. How great is that?
So to wrap up, I'm ecstatic that I'm having lessons with Joan again. It's going to be a great summer.

6 comments:

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

How wonderful Carol. Your lesson sounds fantastic. So happy you got to work with Joan.

I think maybe you experienced the power of intention today?!

Rising Rainbow said...

Very interesting. Sounds to me like you have a lot of confidence in Joan and when you're around her it spreads over to you. That's pretty cool. But if I'm right, it will be even cooler when you can have that confidence in yourself when she isn't around.

Hurricanes12 said...

i think rising rainbow summed that up really well! :) glad you had such great results!!

Judi said...

You commented on my blog that you were wondering how I use clicker when riding. Well the first time Cole did his "big" trot, I clicked him for it. Of course, he stopped for his treat. When I asked him to trot, again, he did it again. After about 5 minutes of this, his trot was transformed forever.

Now, if we are in the arena, he does it most of the time, clicker or not.

If he gets distracted and his head goes up, back gets hollow and his trot goes flat, I just vibrate one rein, he drops his head and goes round and big, again. That is also something I taught him with clicker--first at a walk. I seldom reinforce that in the arena, now, but I am using it on the trail.

I am new to clicker, and I keep finding useful things for it.

Jan said...

Carol, What a wonderful lesson! I like your ritual and your asking for/ focusing on forwardness. (You're so funny - it's okay not to ask for world peace just before riding your wonderful Rogo! LOL)! Maybe, as the others mentioned, your confidence about yourself goes up when you are with Joan, and that's why you and Rogo do better. I'm sure you'll be able to sometimes channel her and those good thoughts even when you're on your own. Aren't epiphany moments like that wonderful!!

achieve1dream said...

That is so fantastic! I'm glad you get to take lessons again. I feel the same way about my trainer hehe. Keep up the great work!