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Update on my lessons...with cantering! (bit long)

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  • Update on my lessons...with cantering! (bit long)

    Hello fellow COTH'ers!

    It's been quite awhile since I last updated everyone on my lessons (search my threads...I'm the one that fell a lot, got really hurt and questioned wth I was doing lol).

    They were going as expected; frustrating, not getting forward enough, gasping for air, overall omg what am I doing, until about late Sept, early Oct. I decided it was a good idea for my hubby to come and watch, AND video me. It turned out to be a gawdawful lesson of course! I couldn't do anything right and just wanted to jump off and go cry so many times. Afterwards, he left and I took my guy inside to untack and groom. I seriously had a 6 year old tantrum when my coach and I talked about it. Complete with tears. Need I say I may have been PMS'ing on top of it all? Only thing missing was a foot stamp. I cried all the way home, had a shower, and went to bed to mope.

    When I could finally talk about it with my hubby on the weekend, he said "If you don't change your approach, nothing will change in that arena." I knew then that maybe I wasn't really trying - like what was mentioned by some of you in my earlier posts...you think you are, feels like you are, but you aren't really. It hit me then, that something did have to change.

    By the next lesson, I had pep talked myself like crazy. I had started walking and made the committment to get to a gym. Most of it was attitude though I think. When I am scared or frustrated, acknowledge it, swallow it down and ride on. Plus, I started taking Rescue Remedy. Not sure if that's more mind over matter, but so far, so good! My lesson was GREAT! Even my coach commented on it (and I apologized for being such an emotional wreck lol).

    Since then, it's been getting steadily better! I can get a trot now without heaving on him or feeling like I have jello legs. I can even keep it going too! My lesson now is lots of circles, working on keeping him straight down the quarter line, trot poles (I love trot poles!), and.....cantering!!!!!!!

    My guy has something off in his legs/hooves, which I won't get into detail about much b/c it will become a book. We've talked about it and I trust my coach that it's nothing horrible or anything that is putting him in pain or distress by riding him. Anyhow, it makes his gait off and he will stumble a bit so it's up to me then to help him by moving him forward and helping him shake it out (like moving helps stiff joints). Well, the one lesson he took a few steps of canter and my coach says "Go with it...let him tell you what he needs." Um. What. Canter? But. I might die. EGADS!

    However, back to going with it and trusting her...so next time he did it, she told me what to do and I cantered!!!! Omg it was amazing. Scared poopless of course, but great! It's not the canter I remember from a TB/Clyde cross...much bumpier, but then he's a Paint and not a couch lol! So, we've been adding that in ever since (maybe 4 lessons now?). Last week was a bit tougher - did one direction fine, but he tripped, went to a trot, then back to canter and by then I was too twitterpated to focus so when we did the other lead, I couldn't get off his face to let him do his job so hoping to work on that this week.

    So, on one hand good that he did this...by forcing me to canter, we probably shaved a year off from when I would have decided I was ready lol! At the end of the first time lesson, my coach said "How about that...she MOOOVED! And, she didn't die!" Had to laugh at that.

    My coach is great...she may not be super outgoing, but I'm really starting to trust her, which helps me trust my horse and has made my lessons better. And, really starting to bond with my guy. He's more affectionate with me and I feel that he's looking out for me too now. I'm pretty sure I'm not always asking for the canter right, but he figures it out and does it for me. Lots of treats for him!

    Anyhow, just wanted to let you all know that I'm still sticking with it. I'm sure there will be more frustrating days in the future, but it's finally nice to be over the hump that I seem to have been at for so long b/c I had to keep starting over from being hurt.



  • #2
    Are you me? We even have the same horse...
    Congratulations! Isn't it wonderful when we finally work through those horrible times of frustration and anguish? Good for you!
    United States Cat Dressage Federation


    • #3
      Oh wonderful update! Congrats!


      • #4
        Does this mean I might get lucky at lessons tomorrow and not get frustrated while warming up? I hope so.

        Congratulations, and I know about those PMS days. Even when it's not PMS. And good for hubby for saying something helpful!


        • #5
          First of all, what I've been calling the "crankies" have been going around - so don't feel badly about that.

          Secondly - YAY!

          Thirdly, I understand. I suffered from some debilitating fear issues due to a fall, and that's after years of experience. There are some on this very board who witnessed a panic attack that I had under saddle when something well within my abilities and skill was pushed when I was in an already heightened state.

          I'm not 100% yet and perhaps I never will be. What is helping me is to get a steady horse (which you have done) that isn't perfect yet doesn't test me too much. So when he spooks and I stay on, I get the boost of confidence that comes from knowing that I've sat it. When we canter on a trail ride and he doesn't tank off - another boost. When you canter and don't fall off - a boost!

          Small successes matter, and you're *doing it*! I highly recommend reading The Gift of Fear and also anything by Jane Savoie. I'm really enjoying working my way through her Happy Horse Course.

          Great job! I'm glad you didn't give up!


          • #6
            Wonderful update, thanks for sharing with us! I remember reading your original posts months ago and hoping things would work out for you. It sounds like they have, congratulations! Let us know how you're continuing in the future when you get the chance.


            • #7
              Glad to hear things are looking up and you are enjoying riding now!


              • Original Poster

                Thanks everyone!!

                I'm very lucky to have such a supportive hubby. He enjoys his alone time when I'm at the barn so it works out for both of us lol! I also should have mentioned that I have a friend who started riding with me last lesson (so there are three of us now), and she hasn't ridden in 20 years. Needless to say, it was a rough lesson for her since her muscles are gone and her cardio. She used to do dressage and could trot for an hour - now she couldn't even trot once around.

                It was an eye-opener for me b/c it helped drive home the "We've all been there, done that and felt that" comments that I've heard here and that we say to help others get through rough patches. I WAS there! And, it gets better. So, now I can encourage her! And....not be the one getting yelled at the entire time LOL! It showed me too that I have made progress since the summer when I couldn't trot either.

                We also had a schooling show back in December. I wasn't in it, but I did go lend a hand with tacking up, parking referee, etc. It was very motivational to see all her levels of students, but more importantly good to see the other riders on my guy. He's the same with each of them...needs lots of leg to get him moving so it's not me and it's not me sucking. The other lady who rides with me came too and she commented that she thought I got him moving better and more even than some of the others...I'll take it! It was also nice to hear her say the same thing to all the students as she does me...heels down...forward...look up! We really have all been there, done that, eh? LOL!

                cloudy - how was your lesson??

                Onegraypony - yes! I hear you! I've ridden a few bumps, trips and starts that I think I probably would have come off of before. Each time I stay in the saddle, it's a small win and is going a long way to helping me get back my confidence. The great horse and patient coach who I'm now starting to trust will also help! I got a Coles gift card for Xmas so I will def look up Jane's books!

                Will keep you all posted again in a few weeks!

                Ride all on


                • #9
                  YAY, FourFaults, I am so happy to read your news!

                  Heres a link to a blog I've found very helpful. Cathy Sirett is based in the UK. I happened to meet her in November. A wonderful confidence coach and lovely person:


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks stryder! That blog looks very interesting...bookmarked for reading in down times!!

                    I shouldn't have spoken so fast...I had my lesson last night and do you think, fo the life of me, that I could canter??? Nope! It's like he gave me three grace lessons where he knew I wanted canter so he did it. Last night it was like "Nope...you've had your chance. You ask me right now if you want it!"

                    My coach said my left leg just wasn't there and I kept hunching too forward, which was putting my back out of alignment and it was just basically a hot mess!

                    She said it is harder in the cold so let's just go with that. Funny how the week before felt amazing and then this week...roll eyes!

                    But...I'm not discouraged, upset or angry like I would have been before...take it as an off week and try again next week.



                    • #11
                      It happens to the best of us! While you're eating dinner at the table, practice putting your leg back as if you're asking for the canter and sitting up in position. If you lean forward and hit the table (or get food on your face) you know you're doing it wrong Your muscle memory isn't quite there yet so a little practice may be what you need to get everything in order for riding next week.


                      • #12
                        Congrats!! You should be darn proud of yourself moving forward! (And hey...it IS harder in the cold!) hoping you next lessons keep improving, not just in riding skills but also with learning its ok to have an off day, we all do!


                        • #13
                          Don't be discouraged, FF. You now know you can canter and you'll get back to it! Just relax and quit worrying about it. It's right there for you.

                          When I first started seatwork lessons on the longe, my trainer told me to lean back, and then to lean back some more. I felt like I was absolutely too far back. But when I looked in the mirror, I was actually upright! It's harder to get a nice canter when we've fallen forward on the horse. Either the horse won't canter, or the canter feels like a scrambling gerbil.

                          So ... relax. It will come.


                          • Original Poster

                            Scrambing gerbil. That is a perfect way of putting it! And, you nailed it. I'm a big thinker...like to know where my leg is, where my hand should be and in what order so about the 5th attempt, I was all askew mentally. I overthink things and then can't just "do" it b/c now I'm brain riding instead of feeling it. I will think of leaning tomorrow! Relax. Relax. I still get nervous when I do canter b/c it feels SO fast and I start getting scared. Then, I'm on his face and he's not happy about it. Funny how you can know all this, but changing it sure can be a major feat to physically do it, eh?

                            Thanks TBPony...I will try doing that at supper - even if it means my hubby is like "Wth are you doing??" lol!!

                            Noctis - yes, I am actually proud of myself. Months ago, if I'd had that lesson I would have been all mopey and upset and questioned why I'm even doing this (which is how my original thread started!). However, after last week, I just accepted the fact that it wasn't going to happen and we'd be back at it this week. As you say an off night and it's OK to have them. I had to learn that.

                            I think since my original post, there have been a lot of small wins...it's good to come here and share with everyone so I can realize them and help it encourage me.

                            Thanks again!
                            Will let y'all know how tomorrow goes!