Solving Problems

Can't believe I'm writing this, but in my last lesson a week ago, my trainer said something that jogged my memory.  Years ago, when the wheels were really falling off of Connor and I, she had me take two lessons on her 3rd level imported Lusitano, T.

He was SO well-trained, you'd think these two were joined at the brain.

T tattled on me to her for all sorts of things, but the most mindblowing thing was my left shoulder, which he taught me is always in a constant state of giving forward, so it's almost like the rein it's holding is not there.  If I took it back and carried some tension in it in order to keep it there, life was good.  If I didn't, he went around terribly.

But he was a man of many talents, in addition to Dressage.

I can't even remember what my trainer said on Thursday, but basically, in my head, I thought "I wonder if this is an inside leg outside rein problem..." which morphed into "I don't have an outside rein to put him in..." which morphed into "Oh shit, my shoulder..."  which morphed into "I wonder if I'm overusing my inside rein to compensate for not having an outside rein which is why he won't get off the right shoulder and just curls his neck instead..."

Welcome to my head.  Constant overanalyzing.

Late spring/early summer is probably my favorite time of year here.  Don't mind the pile of footing on the right, it's temporary.

It worked, though, as once I pulled my left shoulder back I was finally able to get a counterbent left circle (right bend), after 20 minutes of trying to get it and trying everything under the sun.  Then after a weekend of being out of town, I rode by myself on Tuesday and...

That is his LEFT side!  We never get foamy lips on the left side.  I did spiral ins and outs from about 20m-15m, first at the walk and then at the trot, really focusing on giving him a left rein and keeping my shoulder...not tight, just present.

My circle, visible in the arena that had been dragged right before I got on.  Which I am partially just showing you to show off our new expanded arena that is finally in!  Fence isn't back up yet.
It was, without a doubt, the best ride on my own I've ever had with this horse.  And it's also the first time I've solved a problem on my own, rather than just trying to maintain the good work from our last lesson and not backslide.  Is that terrible?  Yes.  Is it a huge accomplishment?  Also yes.  Plus it gives me hope that I won't be totally lost when my trainer has her baby in a few weeks.

Tired, tired pony after that one.
Another lesson tonight, and Connor's Aunt Mary will be there!  Can't wait!


  1. This is such a great post! Lots of things to think about for me.

    Oh, and that arena is legendary :)

  2. Glad you had your ah ha! moment :) The best feeling ever.

  3. Your trainer's horse is gorgeous. I'm glad you had such a helpful breakthrough moment.

    1. She sold him. :( He was gorgeous, though.

  4. Yay what an awesome sounding ride, I love when puzzle pieces reveal themselves.

  5. That's great! Sounds like real progress.

  6. Beautiful arena and footing! And I know what you mean about having a great ride on your own and solving problems - I am having those rides on Fergie frequently and it is a whole new experience for me.

  7. Okay. Not sure why so many books are popping into my head but have you read the art of learning? This guy is a chess and martial master and he writes so well about these little physical habits

    1. I haven't but it's on my Amazon list now!

  8. I know how you feel about maintaining! It is a lovely feeling knowing you can problem solve on your own


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