Kelsey Briggs, you are a slave driver in an eventer's body. Just kidding, you know I love you!!! But really - I tacked up Sunday morning and started my lesson at 11 am. I did not dismount until 1 pm, dripping in sweat, and exhausted, but with lots of new knowledge that made it all worthwhile.
It was a tough ride this week. I am working really hard on breaking the habit of hanging onto my inside rein. We have discovered that the more you hang on the inside rein, the more she leans in and bulges the outside shoulder. So we are working now on MY habit of using the inside rein instead of using my outside aids.
In addition, Kelsey is trying to gently coach me into trusting my mare more and more. It is hard to break a cycle of fear that has been going for several years now. In all honesty, Delilah hasn't done that much to truly warrant me being afraid of her. We've had a LOT of running around, but nothing overtly terrifying, a few unsettling spooks and one very minor fall, and a lot of headtossing. But in truth, the mare deserves more trust from me. So I am working on it. It helps to watch her training rides, and see how calm and relaxed she is learning to be. Every time I watch her go around like that, it reinforces in my stubborn little pea brain that she is capable of going calmly, and deserving of my trust. So I am working on it, step by step. We decided to do my next dressage lesson in one of the paddocks, to see if being contained in an area other than a giant open field will make me feel a little more comfortable and get ME to relax.
Sometimes I feel like the slow kid in class. My biggest problem, other than fighting nervous tension, is that I tend to react too slowly. I see Delilah pull the same tricks when Kelsey rides her - bulging a shoulder, tossing a head, leaning in...the difference is that she nips it in the bud so much faster than me. By the time I pick up on what is going wrong, it is three strides further ahead, and most of the time something else is going wrong by that point too. It can be frustrating, putting all the puzzle pieces together to add up to that perfect picture. But I am determined to get there in time.
So at the end of our ride, I gave Delilah a much deserved bath, went home and showered myself, and then passed out for a two hour nap. It was nothing short of a perfect Sunday.
Oh, and a quick side note - I think I have mentioned before that Delilah has always been a freak about people touching her ears. She also detests the gnats getting near her ears when we are riding, and even flips her head around if her mane is tickling them too much. So when I went to the Camden tack shop on Saturday, I bought a crochet ear net to try, thinking to myself that there was no way I would EVER get it on her. Well, shockingly enough, I had it on her in less than two attempts. I was a PROUD mama!!!