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Made My Day!

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My instructor made my day today. :D

As soon as she walked into my arena (she's kind enough to come to me, so I don't have to haul to her), and sighed with a big grin, "I just love coming here. It's so relaxing, and I have such a fun time working with you and Shay."

That meant a lot to me. I keep my horses at my adopted grandfather's place. It's old and not in the best of shape, but safe and serviceable (which is what really counts, of course). She works out of the biggest barns in the area, and keeps her horse at a high-end facility with all the bells and whistles - but it's loud, crowded, and everyone has to take turns sharing the small turnouts. And yet she finds the quiet peacefulness as alluring as I do. Moreover, she's got a gorgeous KWPN gelding she shows at Grand Prix, and she's ridden though the FEI levels. She has some truly NICE horses that she trains, and yet she thinks that Avishay, my PMU Belgian x TB gelding is fun to ride and rewarding to train. She went on to tell me that of all her students, she most looks forward to working with me every week because I follow through on my "homework", and it shows every time because not only do I improve, but my horse improves as well. :D

But it got even better (I'm still beaming with pride). This past weekend she spent three days scribing for "R" and "S" judges, writing down comments and scores for 3rd, 4th, and GP tests. At one point, another draft cross was competing at 4th, and the judge commented that she felt bad for him, because the work was really outside the horse's physical capabilities, and that the rider was wrong to push her horse to do what wasn't in his best interest. My instructor told me that after the ride, she felt the need to tell the judge about my horse. "I've got a similar gelding that one of my students owns. We're currently schooling solidly at first, but I know he's going to be able to rock 4th level in a couple of years. He's got a great mind, three pure gaits, and he's built to do higher-level collected work. I don't see why he can't make it to the FEI levels - he may not be super competitive against the warmbloods, but he has the potential for it." I was giddy when she told me what she'd said, and it was icing on the cake when she described the judge's reaction as, "I hope she does! I really want to judge that!"

I really love my instructor, her enthusiasm, and her sense of humor, and her (kind) discipline - I don't "get away" with any bad habits, and neither does my horse!

I was just very happy with what she'd said, AND I had a very good lesson on top of it (we "confirmed" two movements I've been working on), so I thought I'd share.

Edited by Avishay04

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i think that's terrific!! you don't find a whole lot of competition trainers like that over here--yell, yell, yell. and i can believe you're one of her favorite students if you're following up on the stuff she teaches you. i can imagine the frustration for trainers who have students who are passive and seem to expect improvement to just "happen". keep up the good work!

i'm in a dressage barn, but nobody competes. we let our zebu cattle be the judge of how well (or not) we're doing LOL.

btw, if you're planning to show you might want to help your horse get use to some commotion. at least over here the warmup rings are like rush hour traffic.

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Thanks Nick.

I have an inkling of what you mean - I worked for a competitive Dressage rider who was German born and trained, and came to the US as an adult. I was an assistant instructor under her for about six months or so, working with special needs children and adults at a therapeutic riding center, and there /was/ a lot of yelling involved.

I've wanted to work cattle for awhile (I also ride western), but so far I haven't had the opportunity. Many people don't know that the bullfighting culture of Spain had a big impact on the development of dressage. I'd truly love to see some video of you working your Zebu! I've seen zebu cattle in person, and I loved them! They're very exotic looking and very colorful.

Honestly, I didn't have much desire to compete until recently. I hired my instructor because I'd hit a plateau in my training - I don't have ideal facilities - my arena is a bit smaller than a small-standard dressage arena, and has IMO inadequate footing (something I'm working on changing). I needed educated eyes on the ground and someone who could help me adapt my training to make the best of what I have. I have a friend who has been using her for about two years, and I like to go and watch my friend's lessons. I was impressed with how she worked hard to stay close to the Classical principals, while keeping the tests in mind as well. It makes for a good balance between Classical and competitive dressage, and she never takes shortcuts or uses gimmicks or gadgets. I'm very anti-gadget myself, and I abhor the use of rollkur, gimmick bits, or training techniques that create stiff horses for the sake of "big" gaits. It wasn't until after my gelding and I starting making dramatic progress that she asked me if I had any desire to compete. She didn't push me to do so, but encouraged me to get out there and use it as another way to test my skill and my horse's development. I thought about it for a couple of weeks, and decided that yes, I would like to compete, even if only once in awhile, because I do enjoy showing when I have the time and money. It's not going to be my main focus, but if I'm going to compete, I want to do it in a way that puts my horse and his well-being first. I love my horse, and I mostly want to enjoy riding him (hopefully for many, many more years), and I want to use dressage to keep him fit, happy, and sound. Anything else is just icing on the cake.

I've taken him to a show before, but didn't enter - I was there to coach a student who was competing western classes and a friend who was doing the hunter classes at the same venue, and I did end up riding him in the warmup arena just to get him accustomed to it. But the barn where the dressage shows in my area are held uses a covered arena, and he's never been exposed to that, so my plan is to take him at the end of this month and pay to have him stabled at the barn for 2-3 nights, and spend time walking, lunging, and riding him during peak activity hours at the barn to help him get desensitized to the sights, sounds, and the echos and shadows of the covered arena.


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