I last rode with this trainer in February 2016, so nine months ago. She said she was excited to see where we were at now, and that set off a whole chain of thoughts about how I'm a little ashamed that we aren't all that much farther along now than we were in February.
These thoughts have been compounded by the fact that my last couple rides haven't been great. They haven't been terrible, but not good either. Kachina has been a bit tense - which is understandable because of her being cooped up in a pen, the early darkness, being relegated to the indoor arena again, having cats leaping about in the shadows, and having friend horses leave the arena just as we were getting going (both of my last two rides). Despite the tension, Kachina has stayed with me for the most part, and I really can't fault her too much.
|Can't get mad at this face|
It's me that I'm frustrated with. I think that the way I've progressed most since February is in my mind as a rider. I am better at recognizing what is wrong and what I need to do to correct it. However, I am still bad at actually doing what I need to do. Last night for instance, when I was doing trot circles with Kachina, she would get counterbent on one side of the circle and start tensing and speeding up. In my mind I knew that what I needed to do was to use inside rein to reintroduce the inside bend and use my inside leg to push her over into that bend. I know that if I can stay relaxed and correct Kachina's body position, she will relax and slow down. I know that. I. Just. Couldn't. Do. It. Instead, I was hanging onto my outside rein like my life depended on it and keeping my legs off her side. If I bring her down to walk I can give with my outside rein, use my inside rein and leg and everything is good, but the faster she goes the more my body goes into automatic mode, and my automatic responses are far different from what they should be.
When I think about it, I know that we have made some progress since February. We've come a long way with improving consistency. Rhythm and relaxation aren't there 100% but they are there a lot more than they used to be. My position is better. Our connection and straightness are improving too. We have more good days and fewer bad days. However, for the most part, our best day today isn't much better than our best day in February, and our worst day isn't much better either. That's still progress, but it's progress that can be harder to see and harder to measure. On our bad days it seems like we haven't improved at all, and that's tough to deal with.
I'm both excited for and dreading the clinic this weekend. I know most of the people in the clinic and know that several will be watching my ride. I feel like there's an extra bit of pressure because I organized the clinic so some people will be expecting me to be better than I am. I get in a mindset where I am embarrassed to ride in front of people if I suck, however I also know that getting lessons is the ultimately the best way for me to suck less in the future. Also, I'm torn between whether I want Kachina to have good days or bad days at the clinic - if she has a good day then we can show where we're at and learn things to get to the next step (and embarrass myself less in front of an audience), however getting some pointers on how to deal with a bad day would be useful too. Both issues are a bit of a Catch 22.
On the bright side, I should finally be able to get some media of me riding for the blog! I just hope it shows some good moments (but I promise to show some of the bad as well).
P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! (It's not Thanksgiving for me so I'm allowed to write a miserly post haha)