July 26, 2016


Or you know just keeping trotting forward. Whichever you prefer.

The biggest issue with my riding at this point in time is not my inability to get Gem rounded and in a frame or to bend appropriately or to move off my leg. Nope. I'm not even advanced enough to get to the point of being able to suck at those things. That will come in time.

Right now my biggest issue is my lack of intent and it has plagued us since day one.

You see, I get into an arena and stop caring about where exactly we do what. It was never really an issue before because in reality I didn't give a crap if Gem did a perfect circle or more of a pear shaped wobbly thing with sharp edges. My time in the arena was just time spent in the saddle when I couldn't get to a trail.

Now that I am actually trying to do things in the arena and have eyes on the ground, my complete lack of intent is glaringly obvious. Not only do I tend to not care where exactly we go, but I also let Gem get away with blowing through my cues and deciding when she wants to actually down transition.

BO won't let that fly.

After my last lesson I realized that I was mentally drained which is completely atypical for me after a ride. Riding is my time to decompress and shut my brain off. Not anymore. I had to think through every minute of every second of the lesson and while I wasn't the least bit sore in my body, my brain surely was. Ugh.

At first I tried to slough it off a little. Seriously why does it matter if I pick a single piece of grass to ride over or she ends up an inch to the left of it? Does that really play that big of a role when all is said and done? Call me the skeptical dressage student.

Then we went over that log and I realized something big. It doesn't matter if she goes over that blade of grass or an inch to the left. Not really. But by me not caring, not giving her exact guidance as to where she should be going, I am giving up too much to her and leaving her hanging. While I think I am being a good leader and letting her know I am there for her, in truth I am putting so much on her to be in charge of that she feels alone.

I bet this is where a lot of her confidence issues stem from.

I just got hit in the head by an entire warehouse of light bulbs.


  1. This has plagued you on trail, as well, if I remember correctly. I think I have finally realized that the whole freaking point of dressage is to put your horse's body exactly where you want it at any point. Canter right at F. Circle right at A. Leg yield down the quarterline. It's all about you moving your horse's body exactly where you want it.

    I guess it would be the same as learning to control your own body at all times when doing gymnastics. Or ballet. Or skiing. Except that your dance partner is 1000 lbs. And you don't always speak the same language.