Every time Walter is here it’s thought provoking and challenging! One of his mantras is, “to the limit, but not over the limit” and speaks of constantly challenging yourself to improve. If you only do what you know how to do and stay comfortable, you really don’t improve very much. So it’s funny that just when I think I have achieved something and want Walter to ‘notice’ it, he pushes me to the next boundary. It’s a good lesson in humility, because even I find myself wanting to show him what I’ve accomplished and can get a little tight because now that he’s pushing me towards the next limit, I feel that he’s only seeing me having trouble again!
Of course, the truth is he can see the changes and the improvements, but this is not a time for me to show off to him, it’s time to learn! Our time with Walter is so precious and moments like these remind me to keep focused on where I’m heading instead of trying to feed what’s apparently left of my ego (I had a big ego-ectomy the first day I did a Parelli clinic!).
So this last time I had a GREAT compliment from Walter, two in fact. :) The first was that he could see the big changes in my horse since my breakthrough in contact – I wrote a little about this to you before, but I’ve written a big article on it that will be published in the May Savvy Times magazine; and the second was that he read my article manuscript and said, “You got it. And you’ve made it so simple to understand.”
So here’s what he saw in me and Remmer on the first day of my week of lessons – Remmer was round, relaxed and ‘through’ in the contact: active hind leg, up in the back, reaching way under himself, and steady in the contact. And I was more relaxed as a rider because Remmer was doing his part – acting like a partner instead of letting me work harder than him. Of course, all the details on this are in my article! So everything was smoother, more ‘up,’ more powerful and athletic…and it was the first video tape of my lesson that I felt good about – all the others I’ve watched and learned and seen what’s wrong (as well as what has improved) but never wanted to show anyone!
Dressage is so hard to do well and to have the horse enjoy, too. My greatest breakthrough between my January and March lessons with Walter was finding the key to my horse’s mind – getting Remmer really into it instead of just being obedient. Walter’s comment was “Goooooood! You’ve been working hard since last time!” Yep, but mentally hard more than anything. I was determined to figure out the mental game of collection and contact for horses. :)
Oh, I just remembered the third big compliment while Walter was here – after reading my article he said, “maybe tomorrow I will just watch as you ride, and let you know if there is anything you can improve.” That’s HUGE! Usually he is coaching me every step, every moment. Now he believes I can feel what I’m supposed to feel, and for him to direct anything will be too late. In fact, the lesson the day before was a lot like that; he kind of stopped talking, just kept saying “goooood, gooooooood” and so I started doing things (transitions, shorter, longer, etc.) because I felt Remmer was waiting for the next thing.
I cannot wait for my next sessions, breakthroughs are so cool no matter how dark the hour is before the dawn!