Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I've Been Hit By A Truck

Not a real truck.  A figurative truck.  Although, my body certainly feels as though I was hit by a real truck.

Last week I had a lesson with my trainer.  I love him because he is conscientious and caring.  His lessons are not for a set time.  He teaches until he feels that you have understood the lesson.  This is a wonderful thing.  Unless, of course you want him to arrive to teach you at a set time.  He is notoriously late.  So, we have a system.  He calls me when he leaves the previous farm to come to my farm.  That gives me about thirty minutes to get ready.  Which is plenty of time, unless I go out to get my horse and see that he has rolled in sticky mud.  Which is what happened at my lesson earlier this week.


I was faced with a challenge:  Do I leave the mud on my horse and warm up properly?  Or do I get the mud off and start my lesson unprepared?

I went with option B and was, unfortunately, not even on my horse when my instructor got to my farm.  And it only went downhill from there.

In short, I had my ass handed to me.  It has been a long winter.  Spider is not in the greatest shape.  I am not in the greatest shape.  We are certainly in no shape to warm up in front of a Grand Prix rider and FEI judge.  We have lost a certain amount of discipline in our work and that is readily apparent in our warm ups.

The warm up is the most important part of a ride.  It sets the tone for everything else you do and speaks volumes for our technique as riders.  When performing for the judges, most riders (ideally) look the same: quiet, elegant, restrained..... but, when warming up you show the true colors of your training style.  In this case, I showed that my true colors are inconsistent, stiff, and slow to react.  Not acceptable.

In that vein, I have worked for the past week to remedy that.  "Inconsistent, stiff and slow to react" is not representative of my riding style, but I have allowed myself to become complacent.  I could make a lot of excuses about long winters, spring chores and the hazards of riding by yourself, but those are just excuses.  Instead, I chose to say "This is not 'me'.  I am better than this, my horse deserves better than this, and I will fix it!"

And that's why every muscle in my body is screaming for mercy and I feel like I've been hit by a truck......

But, my horse looks and feels amazing.


  1. Totally agree about the warm up. Sounds like you have a great trainer!

    I've had one lesson - not on my horse - since Thanksgiving.... heading up to remedy that situation in the next week or two. Preparing for my own ass-handing. ;)

  2. Sometimes the truth hurts,right? I need to kick it up a notch too and it is about to happen. It is a juggling act as an adult to keep it all in the air and at times some things fall while trying to keep the others in the air. Good for you for kicking it into gear. Now I must follow suite.

  3. I need the same sort of discipline for myself and the horses. Last week I sat myself down and gave myself a good talking too. No more excuses just do it. My legs and back were very sore for a few days.

    By the way he looks like a champion mud roller, I'm sure he could give some of my guys a lesson in how to get it really ground in there.

  4. Sorry you had a crap time with the warm up. But I have to say that when I scrolled through your post and got to the picture I burst out laughing - I couldn't help it. Thanks. :-)

  5. I too need to get myself and at least one horse in shape. This winter has done me in.

    Sounds as if you have an excellent trainer. Demanding hard work and having high expectations is the mark of a good teacher. Sorry you're sore, but how nice to accomplish so much that even Spider's mud bath really didn't matter in the end. *G*

  6. Well done you chose the right option, that you warmed-up in front of your trainer, and therefore you are able to change direction.

    Be nice to yourself, it is very very VERY hard to train on your own. Nobody doe sit, well nobody serious does it. Good riders work with video of their ride, and goes regualalry to clinic.

    I am sure that Spider and you are back in tip-top shape ^-^ Try to train one of your kid to film you. I tried with Oliver, but he did get bored quickly, He filmed lots of sand ....LOL!

  7. Yay for no excuses! I love warm up time. If I didn't have them at shows..pft I might as well go home! haha

  8. Yeah, I hear you, and you are obviously in good company:) I'm a little scared Miles is going to look just like Spider this afternoon when I go out...mud monsters!

  9. Good for you because misery loves company. ;) That photo reminds me of Saturday mornings at my first barn. The horses were caked in mud!

  10. I've lost some focus and momentum too and am determined to get back on track. I agree re the warm up. It's funny it isn't written about more in dressage reference books. It makes or breaks the training session.
    Hope you're feeling better fast.


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