Our dressage trainer Per came out today and trained Arshaq and myself.
We worked mainly on my own confidence as a rider since that needs a bit more improvement.
My main problem right now is that I need to stop letting my mind paint up a million scenarios which all end with Arshaq bolting home and falling on the ice.
The idea of any one of the horses getting hurt terrifies me more than anything. But Arshaq is the youngest and the one most likely to do silly things while riding, so naturally I worry most about him.
This fear of him falling on the ice has been stuck in the back of my mind for the past month and I feel like it makes me look tense and ride worse than I can. I really want to (and know that I need to) work on it and eventually get over it. But it doesn’t get better when the best place we have to train dressage right now happens to be in such an open and vulnerable place as the summer pasture. It felt so much easier in the paddock that isn’t right next to the other pastures (with horses in them that love to join in on our fun games).
I keep telling myself that I love the opertunity to practice these sorts of things. (But right then, as I sit in the saddle and wait for Popgun or Shahina to set off at a canter right next to us, I quite honestly do not.)
A trainer like Per being there to supervise makes all the difference to me. He tells me when to “be brave and do my job” and when to let myself feel proud and take a step back.
And thank goodness for Adam who joins us out in the freezing cold during every training, just to film and make me feel more safe and confident.
So today we took some steps back to work on my attitude. We walked around in big circles, changing directions and trying to keep Arshaq’s (and my) mind busy. It was cold and a little windy and I could feel that Arshaq was a little excited. We kept turning, stopping and walking while I tried to separate the safe reality from the endless number of “what ifs” that were starting to tunnel their way through my brain.
Once walking felt natural to me again, we started trotting for a little while and nothing dramatic happened. We then went back to a walk and tried working on some “baby leg yields” which went surprisingly well despite me still being quite distracted. Arshaq appreciated all the praise and I started to feel a little bit more confident.
We then tried trotting again in a big circle and I gradually felt like I could breath properly again and trust him enough to ask him to trot faster. All of a sudden I could laugh and smile again!
Since this felt like a big sucess and the perfect time to stop, we finished up and walked back to the stable while I still felt like we could conquer the world again.
The best part about riding on those roads is, without a doubt, all the climbing. It makes even the calmest rides feel like a good workout.
My Shahina loves cantering, especially up mountains, and was a little excited on the way back but otherwise it was quite a nice calm ride. Popgun was still quite poppy again today but was looking quite nice I thought while we were practicing our dressage homework out on our trailride.