During my lessons I get so caught up in doing what I’m being asked instead of thinking for myself. Case in point my lesson today. Barbara had me doing leg yield. PJ just wouldn’t listen to my leg and move over. I brought my heel up and tried to push him over, which of course, didn’t work and served to compromise my position, which further encouraged PJ to lean and not move over. I know that I lost the forward and the bend, and if I had been on my own I would have stopped trying to go sideways, gotten myself back together, and sent him forward before asking for sideways again. But because I had been told to do a leg yield, I just kept pushing and getting nowhere.
It all comes down to the difference between teaching our horses the cues for something and man-handling them through it. By trying to ride through our issue I just taught PJ that it is okay to ignore my aids, which is just going to make it harder the next time.
I’ve been taking lessons just about forever and I’m a good student in that I do what I’m told without questioning or making excuses. The opposite type of student is the one who questions everything, which doesn’t get you very far and can be very frustrating for the instructor. Sometimes you do have to just try what you’re being asked to do and see what happens. But sometimes you have to take a step back and say it’s not working or you’re not getting it or you don’t think your horse is getting it. I think I know enough now about dressage and about my horse, and have some feel to be able to make those judgement calls. Tomorrow will be a day to practice on my own and then I’ll have to deal with a whole ‘nother set of issues. Good thing PJ is such a tolerant teacher.