I did not know that I was going to be practicing canter zig zag in my lesson today. I simply warmed up as normal. We went through all of the familiar exercises, checking in for accuracy and quality. What I did not know was that throughout the lesson we were stacking my skills on top of each other, making sure the foundation was solid as I worked in collected trot on shoulder-in and trot zig zag, did some single flying changes of lead, and checked for responsiveness by shortening and lengthening within trot and canter. And after a trot break on a long rein to stretch through the back and reward the work, I thought the lesson was over, and I’m pretty sure that my horse figured we were also done. That was when my instructor told me to pick up collected canter, check for relaxation and responsiveness, and gave me the instructions for the canter zig zag. Building blocks in place, I rode the exercise. Two times. Successfully.
Afterward, I started to talk about it, but my instructor told me not to overthink it, to get off my horse because now I was done. And so, I walked out of the arena simply savoring the feel of accomplishment.
Part of the instructor role is to adequately prepare both the rider and horse for success. My execution was not perfect, but the building blocks were in place so that I was able to try something new with confidence and successfully execute the exercises.