January has brought back the independence I didn’t have when I was sick. While I’d already started to drive again before, I really started to venture on my own and feel more confident in myself since this whole ordeal started. It’s crazy to me how much loosing my eyesight in one eye has affected me mentally. Or how this whole ordeal has affected me. I like to think that I am one of the lucky ones, who had a support system that I was able to rely on in the worst of times, and for that I am very thankful.
With said independence quickly came boredom. As lazy as I can be at home, I am not one to sit around all day for days on end. I like having a purpose, a job, and staying busy. I decided since I can’t start school again until August, that I should spend my time doing something productive, and I took on some hours at the tack shop again. Takes up some time in the day, and makes me feel like I’m helping with Libby again.
Riding wise, I’ve been slowly getting back into it. I still have J come out on weekends to take her over fences since I’m literally a noodle. I don’t remember ever being so weak, but I know muscle memory should kick in soon. Hopefully. My rides have been going well, but it wasn’t really until this week that I actually started asking her to do some real flatwork. I decided to take a dressage lesson with a local pro to help me brush up on things, and to have a pair of eyes on the ground. Since I’m kind of in a pickle about regular hunter trainers, and I’d been wanting to take a lesson with him since before I’d gotten sick, I thought what better time to do it than now.
This past Thursday after work I got to the barn and had little to no motivation to ride. I’d already given her plenty of days off thanks to rain and terrible weather, so I decided last minute to have her get a training ride by said dressage trainer. I figured if I was going to take a lesson, he might as well get on and feel what I feel so he can better help me fix my flaws. Amazingly, he had nothing but nice things to say about her, even complimenting me on how rideable she is. That is once she’s in front of his leg. I’d told him the problems I’d had with her in the past, the heaviness, the rooting, and the bulging, to which he agreed would be a serious issue, but that it all stems from her being totally behind my leg. He had her going nice and soft and I couldn’t help but think “I want that in between my jumps”.We decided to do a lesson the next day, and he would hop on first to set her up for me so I could feel the carriage he felt she needed.
Friday I headed out for my lesson. Tacked her up and he got on and schooled her a bit, then I got on. She felt light but VERY forward. Something I wasn’t used to. He had us do a 20 meter circle around him, and whenever he could see her falling behind my leg, he’d flick his dressage whip and ask her to come up in front. Anytime she went up into the next gait, I didn’t bring her back, and instead rewarded any upward impulsion. It was super helpful and I was able to feel the carriage he was feeling. Of course, after 20 minutes I was exhausted, so we ended on that.
A walking trail on Saturday fit the bill for two days of hard work, and then Sunday I tried to recreate the feel on my own.
Spoiler alert: it was a major fail. I tried to not get frustrated, and failed majorly. I got in a war with her, and am super ashamed of it. I texted him that day and asked for a lesson this week, because obviously I’m doing
everything something wrong. We set the lesson for Thursday.
Tried again today, and again had an utter failure. I know it’s me. And I know she’s just a horse, and if I don’t ask her the right way, or if I don’t reinforce certain things, she won’t use herself and she won’t become light in the hands. I know all this, and yet somethings not connecting. My lack of strength/muscle everywhere is exhausting me and I’m getting frustrated too easily, which in turn makes it an overall mediocre ride. I got off, an again was extremely angry at myself.
I should give myself more credit. I haven’t been riding for 6 months. I’m very weak, and my balance is way off. But I’m riding! I should be happy! Thank you perfectionist personality.
So I texted him and asked if we could move up my lesson, and I’d just give her off Wednesday instead. To which he thankfully agreed.
Oh well. Tomorrow is a new day, and I’ll get help, and grow stronger and everything will get better! Staying positive!