July 24, 2017

NK Lesson Wrap-Up: You are the Problem

I scheduled my monthly NK lesson for Thursday evening at 5pm.  Of course it was the hottest, most humid day here since 2013, but I was motivated because...well we'll cover that tomorrow.

"Are you guys good to ride in this heat?" she asked when she got there.  "I practice like I show," I said, "If there's a chance we'll have to ride in a certain type of weather in a show, we condition for it.  We ride in the heat pretty regularly."

I'm not cruel about it though.  His body genuinely is conditioned for it, and we got to the lesson way earlier than we needed to be so he could get hosed off and stand next to a fan for a long time.

This lesson can be summed up thusly:

  • You are the problem.
  • You are crooked.
  • He is ready for second level, you are not, except when you're riding well.

NK is so nice and friendly but also isn't afraid to tell you like it is.  I love that.  She's tactful when she tells me I suck.  Realizing all of the above doesn't bother me, just makes me shrug and say "Well, we've got work to do, don't we?"

An example of her tactfulness: after a tough lesson, she brought out "the sweatshirt" her students had made for her, which has a picture of her riding Dressage "before" on the front, and "after" on the back.  'Before' being NK on her Appaloosa jumper in the 70's doing "dressage", leaning so far back her head could almost touch his rump, and 'After' being her sitting like she's Charlotte Dujardin aboard her PSG mare a few years ago.  With about 30 years between those two photos.

Translation: You are the problem, but don't get discouraged, this stuff takes time, and I was once just as bad at Dressage if not worse.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a lesson recap.  
  • I am still tight in my legs and thighs, even though I've made progress on that since my ride on Mr. P.  To fix: pick my heels up toward the sky and take my thighs off the saddle every so often.  Need to feel as if I can swat a fly off of him gently with my thigh.  But I have to give the fly space to land first! (don't clamp)
  • My uneven weighting of the seatbones is a huge issue especially for lateral work.
  • My braced legs mean my legs are often not on his sides, then when I go to use my legs, he startles, so he's trained me to treat him like he's made of glass.  He's not.
Proof that she's totally right, from my Pony Cup warmup
PC: My momma

  • Sometimes you have to throw eq out the window and just make a freakin point to the horse.  I ride too tactfully in general.
  • As I suspected, the length of my warmup right now is my fault.  I don't start sitting well until he starts going well, but he doesn't start going well until I start sitting at least better.  The whole cycle could be mitigated if I just rode better from the beginning.
We did some tough stuff in this lesson, tough for both of us, and he never really got on my aids and went well.  That didn't bother me though.  She's seen us go well before, but also, I'm just taking criticism in general much better this summer.  Probably because last summer I just felt helpless, like I was stuck in one place in my riding and was just "a bad rider".  This summer, I have proven I can learn, I just have to be patient and keep working away at it.


  1. Man, that could have been my lesson. It's hard to hear but it's also so important to have someone tell you, because otherwise how can you fix it? Also I love that she has "the sweatshirt"!

    1. Right. And you have to be open to hearing that and not just shut down. And have the right person telling you in the right way that doesn't make you defensive.

  2. I admire you just dealing with the heat and riding. I need to do that more because you're right, we'd need to deal with it at a show!

    1. You have to be smart about it and slowly ramp them up in it, but yeah, it's either that or just stop riding for a while. I'm a runner so I know exactly how it feels to run in the heat when you're conditioned vs not, and how long it takes to acclimate (Not that humans vs horses are the same, but you know).

  3. ugh the crooked rider syndrome is the worst :( crooked feels so right tho, and sitting straight feels so wrong!

    1. It does, especially since my crooked riding has made him crooked, so we're like an old married couple enabling each other's bad habits now. Sigh.

  4. That sweater sounds awesome. I'm the problem too...mostly my damn hands!

    1. It really is awesome. It's so amazing to see the transformation in her riding. ME TOO on the hands! She says she needs one of those medieval torture devices to hold my hands still in front of the saddle!