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:
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.