I was overdue for a lesson like the one I had last night.
Anyone who is currently in training for anything knows that if you have been on a run of great sessions with marked progress and improvement, the fates are just itching to remind you that improvement is never a consistent, linear increase. There are plenty of times when, in order to make those two steps forward, you must weather those steps backwards along the way. I knew I was running on borrowed time considering my last 2-3 lessons had been positive, exhilarating, and real ego boosts. That is not to say that they had been easy lessons, there were points of frustration and some lag as big concepts were digested and replicated but overall I had left the barn in that kind of post-exercise, endorphin high.
I was coming off of a week without a lesson thanks to an overseas work trip and we all know how quickly that rust seems to set in. Last night things were rough from the very start. Due to unseasonably warm weather, the horses were still turned out. I try to adjust for these things so I’ll have enough time to get into the arena on time for my lesson but it seems like there is always something that pops up and makes me late. I rushed into the arena about 15 minutes late, mounted and started to warm up.
Last lesson my instructor had praised the fact that I had insisted on energy and responsiveness very early during the lesson and therefore we were really able to work on a lot of stuff because I had done a better job of dictating the tone for Louie. I was prepared to begin the same way last night but after getting a late start, and being a bit frazzled, it just didn’t happen for me. I forgot to put my gloves on, which was really stupid because they were tucked into the back of my pants… I didn’t notice until my fingers started to hurt from the reins. duh.
Then to make things worse, I had such trouble maintaining the correct bend and keeping Louie right in between my reins. We were all over the place, stumbling down the long sides of the arena, skipping corners and Lou wasn’t cutting me any slack. He beat me to my corrections and would slip his shoulders through tiny holes I had unknowingly left open while trying to fix something else; he ignored my inside leg; and he had me twisting my own body into a jumble trying to fix everything to the point where I wasn’t helping either of us. AND THIS WAS JUST THE WARM-UP!
The rest of the lesson was ok, not great- my right leg was pretty dead and I started to forget some basics out of frustration. I did see some shreds of silver lining in the trot and I got a few good walk-trot and trot-canter transitions. I left the barn mentally and physically exhausted…not to mention sore all over.
No matter, I am undeterred…albeit once again, humbled. 🙂