Since Pippi and I started lessons with BO, we have been working hard on the bend, and on getting Pippi to be more responsive to the aids. I have a lesson every two weeks, giving me plenty of time to work on our homework in between. It also give me plenty of time to become convinced that we are not getting anywhere.
This was the case when it was time for our lesson yesterday. I was convinced that BO was going to be disappointed in our progress, and that this would lead to our homework being more of the same. But lo and behold, BO was rather pleased with us, and when she started pointing out all the improvement she saw I was shocked. She is right, we are moving better, I am better at multi-tasking, Pippi is more responsive, carries herself better and she does bend a lot better. WE ROCK!
Now, why didn't I know that? Why did I assume the worst? Why was I beating us up? Do I do that a lot? Do I tend to underestimate mine and Pippis' abilities? Do I really need someone else to tell me I am doing great for me to see it?
And so a lesson was learned, beyond the great things BO taught us in terms of riding. I must keep an ear to my inner thoughts and pump myself up, and Pippi, rather than doubt our abilities. We do have a great work ethic, we try really hard, and by golly we are getting better.
Home work for next lesson in two weeks is to work on balance. I am to stand in my stirrups at a halt, then at a walk, and when I can do that around the arena, I am to work on standing at the TROT!!! No leaning on Pippi allowed, no hanging on the reins, just keep legs on Pippi and stand.
I tried that a bit yesterday and it was not as difficult as I would have thought. We walked about and I was even able to direct Pippi to stay on the wall from my standing position. We walked about half the arena, and I only sat down because BO asked me to halt.
My favorite part of the lesson was when BO told me how much she likes Pippi. She thinks she is a "really great horse," and that there is no reason why Pippi will not make a great Dressage horse. She even thinks that Pippi likes it, and pointed out to me while I was riding when Pippi was intently focused on me and when she was not. A few weeks ago Pippi was not at all focused on me, but now she is with me for the majority of the ride and she seems content. Having a Trainer that pays attention to that sort of thing is just fantastic!!