The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need tomorrow.Robert Tew
This past week I have had a struggle with my riding. I had one lesson this week when I could not get it together. My coach Belinda Trussell is always encouraging. But she also tells it like it is. Here is an example of one exchange we had in that lesson.
Belinda: “What do you think of that canter?”
Me: “Not enough activity.”
Belinda: “I don’t see you doing anything about it. “
I knew what was wrong with the canter but could I fix it? Well, I went through my rolodex of fixes and none of them seemed to work. Belinda took some video and told me she would not be speaking during the video. When she stopped she said: “I don’t think you are going to like what you see on this video. ” I knew she as right. Biasini was too long in his frame and his canter was just three beat blah.
I struggled on and I began to feel discouraged. Those are the moments when the Brain Committee starts to chip in with: “You’re not strong enough to ride the way you need to at this level.” “You are too old to be riding at this level.” “What is the matter with your right leg? Why can’t you be effective with it?”
But by the end I had it better. When I got home I watched the video that Belinda had taken at the end of the lesson. It looked ok and Belinda was very encouraging.
But how do I deal with that Brain Committee that was still chattering at me? This is not something new. I have had lots of rides that have been very discouraging. I have learned that the best thing I can do is to come back the next day and try again. I have to do this even on days when I want to quit and give up. And guess what? When I come back on that next day I almost always do better. And those days are the ones when I often have a breakthrough. This was the case this week .
I came back and with Belinda’s help and encouragement I rode with determination. Biasini sparked up and became the “hot” horse. In the past I have found that in the canter work he gets so strong I am waterskiing around the arena trying to hold him back. But in this lesson I thought “No…I am not going to get pulled around the arena. I am going to half halt this energy and use it. 1. Legs on! 2. Brace my back! 3. Feather my fingers! These three things have to be done almost simultaneously. So there I am with Biasini powering around the arena and me half halting every second stride. But it worked.
This was the first time I have been able to ride that hot and powerful Biasini and not have him take over but instead use the energy to get even better . The struggle of one lesson day helped me to get the strength I needed for the next.