So, yesterday in my lesson, we rode 4th level, test 2. My instructor’s comments were mostly: “Ok” and “Ok”. There were no “Greats” or “Amazing” or “Wow’s!” And after, my frustrating ride the other day, I ended up generally depressed about my lack of progress. Because unless I have some sort of physical epiphany, I’m simply riding “ok” trot and canter half-pass zig-zags, shoulder-ins, and walk pirouettes. My changes are a train wreck and my canter quarter pirouettes are clearly still work in progress.
Instead of riding through the entire test without stopping, my training goal is to ride movements until I hit a trouble spot. When I don’t execute a movement correctly, I go back and work on the specific movement. This helps me learn how to fix my mistakes and it reinforces my aids for my horse. Sometimes mentally and emotionally, I am not ready to reinforce my aids for a specific movement during a test ride. Repeating the movement until I get some semblance of correctness helps prepare me to ride it correctly the first time, and in my brain, I feel like I am communicating to my horse, “Hey, we didn’t get that right the first time, so even though we are in the middle of a test, we are going to ride a do-over!”
Needless to say, today I had lots of “do-overs!”