My ride on Sunday was super. PJ was so responsive. We got our canter departs. Some steps of leg yield were actually good. It was a joy.
My lesson today went not as well. I switched Without-Stirrups Wednesday to Monday this week because I wasn’t sure I would be able to get to the barn this Wednesday, so maybe that had something to do with it. It was also early in the morning before he had a chance to go out. Regardless, he was a little stuck and not paying attention. After getting him half listening, Barbara suggested we work on sitting trot. Boy, do I suck at it. I can’t keep my stirrups. I can’t get him to trot forward. I can’t sit up and back right. The list goes on. I’m sure I was confusing poor PJ.
When we were finished, I told Barbara about my great ride on Sunday. She believed me, even though today he wasn’t going well, and was pleased. She suggested that one of the reasons my rides on my own have been good is that I don’t keep going until I’m tired. I ride until it feels good and then take a break. During my lessons, she has me keep going and going, and then I get too tired to be effective. Both she and I don’t realize I’m fatigued. However, I am reading a great book, which I will review here when I’m finished, that said riders often don’t know when their muscles have become tired. Instructors also often don’t know. They just see that the horse is not responding, and may push the rider to do more to improve the horse, not realizing that the rider just can’t do it. It’s no one’s fault; it just happens. Does it mean I need to take more breaks in my lessons? Get stronger at the gym? Both? I don’t know, but I think sometimes the horse gets tired too (although today that was not the case). Either way, both the good days and bad days teach you something.