Well, what a week! I am now on day 6 of complete confinement in France. It’s been pretty tough on the horsey front as I cannot even go and see Mya at the moment. The stables are closed and she is being taken care of by the yard owner and lives out, so Mya has been enjoying the beautiful weather we have had here this week in Toulouse. I, on the other hand have been making ridiculous horsey themed videos in my apartment to try and cheer everyone up! Head to my instagram to check that out!
Before all this began I was enjoying doing my online dressage competitions each month with Mya, but had noticed that I wasn’t progressing very much or very quickly schooling alone. I was able to find a brilliant French coach called Noelie who I now have fortnightly lessons with and I wanted to share some things with you following on from the last lesson we had.
I realised when I started doing dressage that despite being an experienced rider, I actually had not mastered some of the basics of flat work that was needed to do dressage well. As the months went on I could feel that the feedback from my dressage tests was the same each time. My contact was not consistent, which meant Mya was sometimes in an outline, sometimes not and sometimes actually a little on the forehand. I needed to learn to use the outside rein to balance Mya whilst using my inside leg. I actually needed to start using my legs to ride and start using my seat and core to slow her rather than my hands. I was aware of all of this and really enjoyed getting feedback from the dressage judges, as normally it was very positive and supportive but also enough to give me something to work on.
However, It wasn’t until my last lesson that Noelie very clearly told me, when I had asked her to help me do a turn on the forehand that I need to stop trying to do things that are too difficult and focus on the simple things and do those well first. I must admit it was tough to hear. I had been aiming to compete at Novice level by the end of the year and I did appreciate that was an ambitious goal. I didn’t expect Noelie to tell me the stuff I was doing now was too hard! Although it did force me to reflect and suddenly I remembered how frustrating it was that I still not competitive in the online dressage classes at prelim level and that my marks were no longer progressing. But I didn’t realise it was because it was too hard for me! I just thought all dressage was hard!
So now after a very supportive discussion with Mya’s owner Kate, I have decided to drop down a level and still do my online tests but at Intro level. At first I felt a bit silly, these tests don’t even have canter in them! I wondered if it would be a bit embarrassing to admit defeat at Prelim level and drop down to what even I would describe as a very novice level. But after some consideration I’ve decided it is the only way to improve and I really want to improve. If it takes stepping back to go forwards then I will do it! I realised I can still enter the championship qualifiers online (if I get out of confinement soonish) and actually realised I could now be in classes that I could actually be competitive in! Also how silly would I be to not listen to the coach that I pay to teach me?!
Now, with the world suddenly becoming a very different place. This seems all very insignificant. Just one week ago this was forefront on my mind and now quite frankly I can’t bloody wait to just be outside with Mya. I don’t care what level I am riding at. I am getting quite emotional writing this actually just thinking about being back at the stables. So I think what I am trying to say is that it is ok to not be perfect and its ok to just enjoy our horses. It’s great if you want to be a better rider, I think we all do for our horses. It doesn’t matter what level we compete at or whether we compete at all the important thing is to have fun! I cannot wait to get back on and get back to doing my dressage!
Take care everyone and stay safe xxx
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