Monday evening, after my lesson with Pickles, I asked Dorothy what she thought about me and Gus getting this whole thing figured out. She said that she had faith that I would get it and that he would get it, but she had her doubts as to whether we could fix the way we rode as a team. I left the barn with a bit of a challenge going on in my head. The competitor in me started to wake up.
I sort of feel that Gus and I have been to “Boot Camp” this past week and a half. This is my version of the week……
Dorothy had to break both Gus and I down mentally (and physically) so that our new style of riding could be made into a habit during such a short period of time. Gus had to learn how to slow his brain down, and I had to learn how to get him to maintain it. We were forced daily to work on his/my weaknesses under Dorothy’s supervision at all times. I was not even allowed to warm him up without her present. It got much worse before it got better. Gus fought the new style with a passion! Dorothy had to get on him MANY MANY times to finish the battles that I started. My legs and arms would give out after an hour or so, and Dorothy would “tag team” him with me. My confidence in my riding decreased daily. My confidence in my horse decreased daily as well. Knowing that my horse was a Rolex quality athlete (says Dorothy), but I wasn’t even able to ride him straight to a pole on the ground, made me feel like throwing in the towel. On Monday when I rode Pickles in my lesson I was finally able to work on myself without fighting with Gus. Dorothy rode Gus, and was able to work on him. It was really helpful! My confidence in myself started to pick up a little bit, but I was still worried that I couldn’t get it right with Gus. I WAS WRONG!! Gus and I had great flatwork on Tuesday. We slowly started trotting over poles on the ground, then over cavalettis, then over small logs, then we were going over banks up and down, then into the water, then over a ditch, and finally cantered a log jump. WE JUMPED! We only had to do a few torture circles in the process, which was fantastic for Gus. Today in my lesson I got to do real dressage—-the kind with the dressage saddle and everything. I even got to put my reins closer to my horse like a normal girl. It was great. My confidence soared—-but not too much. Gus was relaxed and carried himself. When he didn’t, I could fix it easily. His brain stayed quiet, and when it didn’t, I could fix it. Dorothy has done it. She made us go back to the very beginning and start over. All in one week. We are ready to do Novice:)
So this weekend will be Novice. I am hoping to do Training and then Prelim. after that. We will see how it goes.