Reality is that Trainer A isn't available when I can take lessons. I have a 9 to 5 job that increasingly needs me to actually be available during those hours. During the summer I have early release on Fridays but the rest of the year? I'm not reliably at the barn before 6pm. She's usually done teaching by 4pm. On Saturdays its a parade of lessons that really don't suit me and he's already in the 8am lesson with his other rider.
I took myself completely off the lesson schedule today. During the summer or when I take a break from work I'll pick up some lessons but I'm no longer in regular lessons. We have no adult supervision.
Do we look like we should be left unsupervised?
It's not really a surprise to anyone that I'm bringing things to an end with my regular lessons. As Theo settles in as a Second level pony (got clean changes both ways without porpoise impressions today!), I'm increasingly aware that I'm the most advanced student Trainer A has ever managed. Mistakes are made, confusion abounds, and there's a certain amount of mutual flailing as we figure out what mid-level dressage is supposed to look/feel like. Eyes on the ground? Excellent. Teaching me how to get that shoulder in down quarter line dead straight? More problematic. Knowing when we're ready to go show at Second? No idea.
Second level pony or not, he sure is pretty
So now what? Good question. I've looked at all of the barns that are in a reasonable drive from me and there are no trainers for dressage that are more experienced than I am. Almost all of the barns in my area are up-down barns or have no training available at all. So there's no point in moving barns, I'm not going to get more training. That leaves me with trailering out and clinics.
It's January in NH, I'm not going anywhere right now. After the last flood and freeze, my trailer is behind a wall of ice that I need to take out with a sledgehammer. My road is dirt with ice and then a layer of sand on it. No, I don't want to trailer anywhere right now. Come March, I'll need to start heading out again. Mary Howard is an obvious starting spot. I could work something out with my boss to let me go out for a once a month lesson, I'm sure. There's also rumor that the clinician I rode with last year that I really liked is coming back. A couple of repeating clinics, some trailer out lessons, it should keep me from sliding into the abyss. And occasional sanity checks with Trainer A as opportunities allow.
It's very scary to think I'm on my own now. In some ways I had been before, but now it's all official. I'm my own trainer.