Saturday, 26 January 2013


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So this post was going to be about my lesson today, but then I just received a text off my instructor which made me smile and then I thought 'hm, why not do a blog post on positivity?' 

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very positive about myself and always see flaws, but I suppose that's human nature. But today made me realise, that maybe I should be a bit more positive about myself, especially when it comes to riding. I always say that I'm not a great rider. I hate boasting and never really believe that the achievements I make are due to me...sounds weird I guess but I will always say that it was due to my instructor or even my horse. However, I have realised that those achievements have happened because I put in the hard work. Yes, my instructor is a true god send and has helped me so much but at the end of the day I only have lessons with her a couple of times a month (sometimes less because I forget to reply and book lessons quickly so the slots go!) and therefore she gives me the building blocks to work on between each lesson and I adapt and add more in the time between. I really don't want to start sounding like a bit of a big headed person, because I'm seriously not, but I think it's time to start looking at the positives about myself more and hopefully they will help pave the way to greater things, who knows?

My lesson today couldn't have gone any better really... As the outdoors are out of action with the snow (it best thaw out soon!) we can have the indoor in half hour slots and normally have to share with someone. I'm quite apprehensive about sharing the indoor given Paddy's past, so when someone asked if it was okay that she was sharing I was a bit worried in case Pea decided to throw toys out of the pram and get in a paddy and nearly kick her horse or something. However, Pea was amazing and never even considered napping! His trot is so forward going now that I'm not used to it! He used to be so backward thinking and it was an effort to trot, in fact when I first got him I could hardly get him to trot a long side of the arena, and now he just trots forward and is slowly starting to really use himself. We worked on using half-halts to get him to come back and then when asking to move forward again, apply the aid for leg yield to prevent him from moving his body  inwards. This was a really effective exercise and I could really feel him working and using the muscles in his neck and withers to start coming down into an outline which he is starting to offer more and more. We then progressed the exercise from just doing it at B and E to on a diagonal, asking him to half-halt before turning onto the diagonal and again before coming off the diagonal and leg-yielding round the corners so that he's bending the correct way and using himself round the turns making it much more easier. At first, I found the exercise really hard but once I stopped thinking it as each individual movements - ie, half-halt now, now leg yield the turn, now straight, now half-halt, oh corner - and carried it out as more of one fluid movement it became a lot easier and our corners were good and we were prepared for whatever next. 

My instructor has literally been a god send for me and Paddy. When I first started having lessons with her just over 2 years ago, we were at a bit of a cross-roads as previous instructors had made me lose confidence, faith, me and Paddy were fighting rather than working together as it was basically 'if he's naughty smack him, and keep telling him off until he's good' and so he was backward thinking and it was just a big argument all the time. However, Emily took a completely different approach and when he was naughty she said not to smack him but to divert his attention by turning in a different direction or asking something different of him. This then made Paddy wonder what was going to happen next and whatever argument we were going to have was soon forgotten. I'll admit that in the beginning I was determined on trying to do well and look good that I didn't focus as much on what would work for Paddy and slowly, after a few lessons with Emily I began to realise that I can't ride Paddy in the way I would ride other horses or how people expect you to ride, but to ride in the way that works for him and ever since we have grown as a partnership and he's now like a different horse. He still has his moments, normally in the first 5 minutes of work but then he'll work like a dream and the days he's 'naughty' it's not that he's stopping and napping, it's more that he's just 'away with the fairies' as I call it and does what pleases him, like trot around with his head in the air, spooking at silly things and forgetting he has legs that need to be picked up in order to move! Emily also likes to hand out compliments, which I'm awful at taking and never believe them which then causes her to come out with the saying 'who's the instructor here? so who knows best here?' and I grumble away! Today was no different and she used the opportunity to mention to the woman sharing the arena how good Paddy is nowadays and how it's all down to me, etc etc. Cue me trotting around pretending to be oblivious and focussing on Pea! haha! (also, the woman is one who had very little belief in me or Pea, just like many others). 

So at the end of the day, or this rambling blog post, I guess what I'm saying is that we should all try to think about more positives of ourselves or when we get complimented, take them on board rather than do what I do and think they're just saying that! Also, if people try to bring you down, ignore them. 'The less you give a damn, the happier you will be.' - This quote is true. I've found that since having lessons with Emily, she's also taught me to not care what people think and just do what pleases me and Pea and since then we've been placed numerous times out competing, he's even won his first prelim (I mean, we've won our first prelim) and we're both so happy that it shows in our work. 

I apologise for the rambling post, I'm not too good on these sort of posts and conveying what's in my head into words on 'paper' but I hope it helps you and please leave comments on what helps you, people that help inspire you, etc. (You can also tweet me at @Lauraaa_CB).

Laura & Pea x

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