Perplexing

My trainer said I was one of her most perplexing students last night.  Achievement unlocked!


Perplexing is as perplexing does.

Connor was awesome last Thursday and Saturday (both Dressage rides), and then a complete rat for Tuesday's Dressage ride because Sunday's ride in between there had been a conditioning ride.  It was an honest temper tantrum that I didn't know how to handle, I mean, eventers have to be able to switch gears like that, right?

When Thursday's lesson started out like Tuesday's ride, my trainer correctly diagnosed that I had let him go on his forehand for the conditioning ride, and the temper tantrum (head tossing, turning his entire head and neck to look outside the arena, overreacting to aids, generally being anti-submissive, a horsey 'No, I don't wanna') was in response to being asked to carry himself in a Dressage manner again.

I want my horse to be a willing partner and all, but sometimes you just have to stamp your foot and yell, "CONNOR, YOU'RE GOING TO CLEAN YOUR ROOM NOW!"  Which my trainer helped me achieve through quiet, relaxed 10m circles until the gerbils returned, and he was focused and relaxed from there on.


I let him out for some post-ride rolling afterward.

It was then that she slowly and tactfully (like she could possibly offend me after 3.5 years!) said I was one of her most perplexing students.  On to the lesson!  She said she has a hard time figuring me out, because it would appear that I'm doing everything right, all the right exercises, but there's something holding me back on Connor that doesn't hold her back, so there must be something in my position, and she thought she knew what that was now.

Looking at the trot, she says she thinks I do two things

1) I work too hard.  My fitness works against me, because I am strong enough to do the wrong things easily, where most people would relax.  So when I post, I do a lot of the work for Connor and do not relax my joints and lower back, rather than sitting deeply on Connor and letting him toss me up.  "He's got off easy for too long," she semi-joked.

2) The first direction of my post is actually slightly backward, because I do what my CrossFit trainer would call a "booty wink" or duck butt.  The first motion of my post is my hips tilting forward and going slightly back, before going forward.  I never would have noticed it if she didn't say something.  I'm conducting Connor's energy from his hind feet in the wrong direction by doing this.

She had me halt and post at the halt, and made some major position changes in my post.  It felt like my glutes were firing more, but my lower back was more relaxed.  When we got back to trotting and she corrected me every time I went back to my old ways, Connor moved in a brand new way.  More suspension, less jarring of a motion, and I was able to sit the trot easily.  It was really good, and she was just as delighted with herself for cracking the code as she was with me for getting it.

Who knew, you sit on your horse and your horse sits more too?

Gratuitous adorable tiny Husky picture

16 comments:

  1. As I was reading I couldn't help but realize that I do the exact same things. That is a revelation.

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    1. I'm so glad to help, if it affects Fiction like it did Connor, you'll see a big difference.

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  2. So true about working too hard...my coach always says the horse should be doing the work - not the rider.

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    1. Amen - but to me doing too much work doesn't feel like a lot of work. I have to reconfigure my idea of work!

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  3. Haha. This is why I try not to be too fit. :-p

    You little badass.

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    1. Haha! It's not the level of fitness, but the type of fitness. It's not the first time I've been told that the muscles I work especially running work against me in the saddle. Oh well.

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  4. I have a similar problem where my fitness tries to take over vs just relaxing.

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    1. Word. She's like "This is working hard, what you're doing now." and I'm like "But it doesn't feel hard..." Hard doesn't start until your 5th round of power cleans and rope climbs, amirite?

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  5. Dying laughing at "CONNOR CLEAN YOUR ROOM RIGHT NOW!"

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    1. Haha! That is TOTALLY what it felt like! He was being a brat and I told him to knock it off and then he was foot perfect.

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    2. I love the clean your room comment too- amazing!

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  6. Somehow this sounds very familiar... I'm definitely familiar with the temper tantrum of you let me laze around on my forehand yesterday why do I have to work today???

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    1. Good, it's nice to know I'm not alone. We're still figuring out this "being eventers" thing - both of us.

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  7. My teacher spent a good amount of time re teaching me how to post. Apparently, I posted too high and with too much energy which was jazzing up Harley and not helping him sit. The biggest change was in my lower back. I get the duck butt image. It has made a world of difference, but I agree that telling me not to work hard didn't help. It was never hard to do!

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    1. I'm glad it helped you, it seems like it will me too based on my last two rides. Agreed, it doesn't seem hard! Maybe it's habit and maybe it's muscles that are strong/weak that shouldn't be. Isn't it amazing that they are so sensitive to the way we sit?

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  8. Great trainer you have to recognize that!

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