Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Sometimes, it feels like the wheels are coming off – that the entire operation is falling apart – that, perhaps, you have no idea what you’re doing and have no business going about it, because you don’t even know what you don’t know…

There is a danger in working under more than one trainer… It’s called ‘cognitive dissonance’…
Your reins are too long!
Your reins are too short!
Push your knuckles together!
Widen your hands!
Get your weight up out of the saddle!
Sit back!

DQ has been helping to drill my position. My core continues to get stronger and more stable, but when the mare drops her back, I fall forward. Every time. I noticed it. I even mentioned it to DQ. Knowing it is going to happen doesn’t do a thing for allowing me to prevent it.

We’ve been insisting on a higher level of work: sitting more for her transitions, pushing into contact, staying supple in the bridle…
Sometimes she throws this tiny hissy fit… It goes something like this:
- drop all connection and get above the bit
- oh, you’re still sending me forward? Then, I’ll just drop behind the bit!
- oh, you’re still not letting up? I’ll just throw my shoulders up in the air and make an upward transition!

When these things happen in my dressage lesson, I hear DQ’s running commentary, “Yes, that’s right. Good. You’re right, you’re right! Yes, exactly!”

Many times, I find myself praising the mare at the same time that DQ praises both of us. Nothing earth-shattering has been brought to my attention. Nothing that I should do or stop doing has been mentioned. Still, I find myself frustrated and full of doubt. I asked DQ, “Are you *sure* you don’t want to ride her?” She acquiesced.

I watched with eagle eyes as this FEI-level rider put the Psycho Mare through her paces. I studied her leg, her hand, her position… I tried to grasp her timing and feel. To my amazement, Psycho Mare gave her all of the same evasions. DQ would get her together and connected, then the mare would drop it all. What really knocked my socks off was the way that DQ was also forced forward in her position when the mare fell out from under her. All along, I was thinking that it was a personal weakness, but it really isn’t just me!!

The upshot of this marathon lesson:
Keep asking and insisting. We have raised the level of expectation, and now we must insist that she deliver. Keep asking, keep sending.

After DQ’s ride, I was able to keep her connected enough to actually have an effect on my position! I have all of the tools and I am using them correctly. I need to just KEEP DOING IT!
I have been validated. ;)


  1. Yeah for validation! It always makes me feel better to know that I'm on the right track, especially when the pony is being naughty.

    1. Tell me about it! Those ponies can be oh-so-naughty and evasive that it is difficult to tell if they are just being naughty or if you are asking wrong and training bad habits!
      It sounds like I might take some of my lessons with DQ on her trained horses to see if that helps me progress along any better. She says I have excellent feel which makes me easy to teach. **beams**



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