Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Roads to Rome

I'm a pretty goal oriented person.  It's not a secret.  I like having something to work toward.  Once I have something to work toward, not being able to make progress is frustrating.  I've definitely been making progress with Theo, but it drags and there's fits and starts.

Some of it's just my schedule.  I have a lot going on.

Fuel for data analysts

Some of it's my horse.  He's . . . well, opinionated.

So many opinions

And some of it's my environment.  My barn is far from a competitive hot bed.  I am the only dressage focused rider.  I am the only one with a focus on sanctioned competition in any discipline.  I am the only adult competitor.  The list goes on.  I am, hands down, the most advanced rider in the barn aside from my trainer.  This means that if I share a lesson, my lesson is going to need to be down shifted.

It's starting to become a problem.

My Wednesday night ladies lesson has been rescheduled about six weeks in a row, usually to the weekend.  I think I'm just going to drop that lesson.  Yes, I enjoy the pony parade, but I find myself just flopping along.  It's more expensive than going to a bar to just hang out.

My Friday morning lessons are either privates and therefore more intense and focused or they're shared with whatever random adult beginner that needs a lesson at that time.  My last lesson, we cantered for about two minutes on our own.  The rest of the lesson we practiced straightness, which is important, at the walk and trot straight down quarter line.  No shoulder in, no haunches in, nothing because the other rider wouldn't even know what those things are much less how to do them.  I really, really need to work on my simple changes but if anyone is in my lesson, that's off the table.

I'm too focused and competitive to handle this well.  And then my training ride got rescheduled and camp is going on so it's rather chaotic at the barn and Theo's shed STILL needs to be repaired . . .

I sent out an email to set up a trailer in lesson with Mary Howard.  Surprise, surprise, she emailed me back right away and I have a lesson with her on Friday the 21st.  She's a Grand Prix rider that won the Pan Am games in 1985.  She's got a bunch of students on the same circuit as me, including a couple of adult ammies debuting at Second level this year.  I told her I was a First level rider with a draft cross and she still set me up with a lesson.  AHHHHH.

This may be the kick in the pants I need.  She's helped train up dozens of horses to FEI, I'm sure she can help me and my ploppy pony get to Second.  And if we click (meaning her and Theo, mostly), she's only 45 minutes away and I can zip out to see her for more lessons.  I guess I'm really going to have to get the lead out and buy myself a trailer of some sort.  I think I've hit the point where I really, really need to be able to go out on my own and get the experiences I need.

I guess I'm tired of trying to fit into a 'program' where I'm a completely and utterly different type of a rider.  I certainly can't move Theo to a fancy dancy dressage barn (broke and over an hour from my house), but we can go visit.  Maybe a bit of the grandeur will rub off on him.

I can hope.


  1. I hope you love the lesson! I have found that shipping out for lessons with trainers (yes plural) of my choice has worked very well for me, as a rider who also has not fit in well with the "programs" available at my barn base. But I still need to board close to home. The trailer solution has worked well for me and been sustainable for about three years so far. Wishing you similar luck in kicking up your training program!!

  2. Honestly wishing you the best of luck! Having your own transportation definitely helps give you some autonomy. If Miss Howard is willing to watch videos of your solo rides, that can also help you progress and prevent bad habits from developing. At the end of the day, you should be in a program that works for you. No shame in making changes :)

  3. That is tough. I know my old trainer was very good at insuring that those of us who rode at a higher level still got the most out of our lessons even in mixed company. I hope that getting out there with a more competitive trainer gives you that feeling you crave

  4. The new trainer sounds awesome. My trainer is really good about teaching two simultaneous lessons to my husband and I. group lessons just don't work for dressage. I like them much more for jumping though because I find there that watching other people and what they do helps me learn. But dressage is a solo sport.