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The Light Bulb Finally Comes On

Folks, I’m stressed. Even through 100 hour work weeks in residency, so many board exams I’ve lost count and starting a business, I can’t recall any time I’ve been more stressed than I am right now. There is not a single moment of my life that hasn’t been changed thanks to the virus. I’m still able to work since I’m a physician, however my office is slow and I’m stuck between trying to keep my wonderful ladies paid and trying to not go bankrupt. Add in the daily call with the hospital for my required corona updates which often times goes against what the talking heads are saying and it’s a lot.

Friday I said enough was enough. All the stress, all the decisions would still be there come Monday. I took the weekend off, put down my phone, stopped reading/responding to anything about the virus, stopped talking about it and forced my brain and body to de stress.

It was just what I needed.

With the announcement that all state parks are closed, I may need a cribbing collar soon

Friday became a horse day. The morning was spent cursing the dressage gods as I built my own dressage court. It took nearly 3 hours and over 6,000 steps and was still a little wonky. Apparently making straight lines isn’t my thing. But…I did manage to put together a serviceable and mostly accurate dressage court before Trainer AB pulled in for a Come to Jesus dressage lesson.

I debated having her come to me, but she comes alone, it is outside and she touched nothing. I opened all my gates, tacked up my own horse and stayed 6’ away from her at all times. It seemed as safe as anything.

The pups “helped” by turning the arena poles into an obstacle course and knocking my poles everywhere as I struggled to build it. Squint hard and you can see the end result.

This lesson was pretty important. After the disaster that was my last dressage outing, I needed to know if this was even something I wanted to pursue. I don’t care if I win, but coming in last and feeling like shit after each test isn’t enjoyable at all. Could we improve? What would it take?

Trainer AB dealt with my initial verbal diarrhea about it all. The consistent comments across all three tests I’ve done have included: counterbent, bad geometry, not against rail and falls on inside shoulder. Trainer AB said it was time to take dressage seriously and buckle down. As a side note, she explained that with new pairs to Eventing she focuses on jumping first as those phases are more dangerous. A bad dressage score may stink but a bad stadium round can get you hurt. Once stadium is doing good and xc is safe, she dials in the dressage. Apparently we are now in the “dialing in dressage” phase.

Fluffzilla dug in the mud puddle while I labored away

What proceeded was a full hour of getting my butt kicked. Oh my but I haven’t been that sore or tired in a long long time. We began by lowering my stirrups a hole and then continued to work on each individual element of the BN A test since that was the one we both remembered at the time.

It was….hard and yet really enjoyable to get down to the nitty gritty versus looking only at the big “don’t get eliminated in dressage” picture.

The basic gist of it all is that I need to be firmer with Eeyore. Instead of kinda sorta hoping we make a circle at E, I need to insist on it. Demand it. Not be mean or harsh but set him up and make him realize that when we enter the little white box, it is time to get serious. Trainer AB also helped me understand tiny details such as aiming for just left of the letter when doing the free walk diagonal and when exactly to start packaging him back up for the medium walk.

I’ve purchased this and am waiting on the hard copy delivery. Used with permission.

It. Was. Eye. Opening.

By the time we ran through the entire test I finally knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing and when. There was no more hanging on and hoping to survive. I rode every single stride. It was so nice to run through the test and hear her constant feedback and then to feel the difference it made.

I have a lot of homework but now that I know what I’m striving to achieve, it is going to be a lot easier to work on. I still don’t love dressage but it is starting to grow on me. No change to pure jumpers just yet I suppose.

12 thoughts on “The Light Bulb Finally Comes On”

  1. What a great sounding lesson! I’m so glad that you felt more confident at the end. What a treat to be able to have your own dressage court at home. Hopefully you’ll get lots of practice time in and will be a complete boss by the time shows are feasible again.

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    1. Yeah…I read an article on how to set it up and as soon as I saw to use the Pythagorean Theorem I closed it. Not doing math on my de-stress Friday…HA!

      But I have come up with another solution. I’m going to get (once the virus leaves us all alone to return to normal) a 40 meter and a 20 meter long chain and attach a stake to both ends of each. Then I don’t need to measure. I can stick one end of the chain in the ground, stretch it out and stake in the other end, then do a short side. I’m not going for absolute perfection here. It is just for my use at home and not a competition.

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  2. Glad you were able to take a long weekend to de-stress… These time are difficult to navigate for sure.

    Sounds like a great lesson – riding homework is the best!

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  3. At some point with showing it becomes less about surviving and more about putting all your homework skills to show off in the test and it sounds like you are arriving at that moment!

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  4. That is so good!

    I know the US is at a whole other level compared to us, but in AUS you’re still allowed to have trainers give you lessons but ONLY if they come to your place.

    You can’t go to them or meet them at another facility.

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    1. I felt so much more confident in what I need to do after this lesson. Really it boils down to me being more firm with him. He can be very opinionated about what he thinks we should be doing and I have to step up and be louder with my “no sir, we are focusing and doing this now”. Once I got firmer he eventually got the memo and acquiesced.

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