A Crystal System subscriber wrote to me because she was feeling guilty for not riding in the rain.
Hey Ho! not riding due to the weather, once in a while isn’t worth beating yourself up about. It’s when it becomes a regular thing and is affecting your overall progress that you need a strategy to overcome any lethargy you are experiencing over, riding in bad weather.
To help you feel less guilty you could use the time to do something equally constructive towards your goal, like fitness training, stretching or stamina work maybe. Learning or applying massage techniques that may help your horse is a good one. Cleaning tack can be very therapeutic! Reading the Crystal System Blog archive will always help! This work is just as needed as the riding, so if you are having a bit of a fair weather rider day, you won’t feel like you have wasted the time as long as it is something that is contributing towards your dressage goals.
In the Stirrups Magazine – January 2015 is out.
My article entitled ‘This Business of Dressage’ is the second part of a two part series looking at a business like approach to your training. It is very motivational can be found on page 29 through to page 31. I have, however, replicated the article below for you, but please take a look at the magazine, it has some great stuff, including …
- A round up from The London International Horse Show at Olympia 2014
- A great article from Anne Gage on Confident Horsemanship
- Mirrors for Heroes – a story about Mirrors for Training donating to Help for Heroes
and much, much more …
THIS BUSINESS OF DRESSAGE – PART 2
In my last article I made a number of comparisons between business values and how they can be applied to your dressage journey. This month I am continuing that theme with BIG thinking. I have been relatively successful in business and it occurred to me that a businesslike approach to training would not only bring a fresh look at everything but also might just be a little thought provoking.
We all need that special someone who can guide us through the minefield, help us focus, work with us to achieve our dreams but there’s no getting away from it, dressage lessons with instructors are not cheap. Of course, it’s all worth it for that rosy glow we get at the end and the injection of enthusiasm we experience as a result of doing something right, (or wrong and working through it) on our way to achieving our ambitions.
I’d like to share with you my view of how to get the very best out of your dressage lessons because as someone who spent a long time in search of the right mentor and therefore, wasted a great deal of time, effort and money on the wrong training, I have learnt that there are a number of things you can do to get the absolute best from the precious and not inexpensive time you spend with your instructor.
I am guilty of all of these ‘faux pas’ and I’m sharing so that you don’t have to be.
1. Share your vision.
The first thing you need to do is ensure that both you and your instructor are absolutely clear about your riding ambitions. It’s no good being disappointed with the lesson outcomes if you have not communicated and agreed what it is that you need/want to work on and agreed some medium and long term goals that are achievable.
It is right that you should expect to have somewhere to warm up and do your usual routine before you even begin to engage in your instructor’s time. That way you won’t be spending your hard earned having him/her watch you warming up!
3. Show some respect
Every equestrian has a certain level of knowledge but there is nothing more tedious than a pupil who thinks they know how to do everything. You may not agree in that moment with what you are being asked to do, but at least do your instructor the courtesy of listening and trying out their ideas, you have to trust that they are there to get the best out of you, and have your best interests in mind.
4. Clock In-Clock Out
As you enter the arena you are working. Clock In. Put every ounce of your energy and focus on your aids and your horse whilst in the lesson, do as instructed and try not to think too much. As you leave the arena – Clock Off. There’s plenty of time after the lesson for discussion, whilst riding, empty your mind, concentrate solely on what is happening in the ‘here and now’ and forget what might happen if!
5. Up your work ethic
All too often you see riders who stop to ponder what is being asked. The horse who has been putting in all its efforts to abide by the aids is all of a sudden let down and is now standing whilst the rider gets his/her head round things. Then its pick back up and expect to do better. Do your very best to ride through the instruction and feel what you need to do. My mentor’s favourite saying is “show me what you’ve got when you’ve got nothing left”. It is in these moments that you can produce brilliance, just at the point where you think you can’t do it anymore, one more push of effort ‘et voila’ it all becomes worth it.
6. Shut up!
When your instructor is with you in the arena resist the urge to talk. If you want to natter with them, take them to the pub. In the arena they are working and you should be too.
7. Have Fun
Try not to take it all too seriously. Enjoy the learning process and smile.
Since adopting these strategies I have had more fun with my learning. I’ve come out of sessions absolutely beaming and unable to sleep at night because my little horse has given me so much and I can’t stop thinking about it. But it’s not me who benefits the most, it’s my horse and that feels good.
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
Having issues establishing and keeping a good balanced position?
I had a comment from my good friend Johanne Picken which might help you all …“I remember a blog you wrote regarding it most often being the rider that is unknowingly at fault, rather than the horse but I just didn’t realise just how much the rider’s body and position affects how the horse goes!”
Here’s the blog Johanne is referring to …Is it me or is it my horse?
Give this some thought yourself. What are you doing to influence the horse? If when you ask correctly you get the correct response, doesn’t it follow that if you are not getting the correct response you may not be asking correctly? Step back, take a look at yourself. What could you be doing wrong? Self analysis of your position from head to toe each time you climb aboard your horse will reap benefits. Give it a go.
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
When you DON’T get the results you want, either …
- You weren’t clear
- You didn’t have enough preparation
- You asked your horse something he wasn’t ready to do
- You asked something with too much pressure on the rein
- You stopped breathing !!!! Oh yes you did!
Whatever the problem … just laugh at yourself and do something to change it.
Welcome the struggle, it’ll make you smarter and WHEN you overcome them, you will be a better you.
Worse still I am championing the hard work! In my blog I have said things like … “If it’s important, you will find a way”, “If you’re willing to pay the price, anything can be yours” as a way of motivating people to achieve their dreams. But you know what, it occurred to me that sometimes I take too long to quit!
I struggle too much, continue doing things that I don’t enjoy and hard working is what it’s all about. Trouble with that way of thinking is that it implies that if I haven’t yet got what I want that a) I don’t want it bad enough or b) I’m unwilling to pay the price. For a tiny minority, this may be true. I say MAY be true! There may be some people out there who are simply too lazy, too dispassionate, too uninspired to take action on getting what they want but I think that they are the rare few. For many they just don’t know what they want!
So, when I had my crisis recently and everything appeared to be going wrong, I went back to the very basics and asked myself the question “why am I doing this?” The reality is that I already work too hard, too long, putting forward too much effort and that it’s the very effort that I’m putting into things that is costing me results.
You see, excessive effort makes things too tense and too serious, eventually it all goes a little sour. That’s not to say that effort or work is a bad thing, it is EXCESSIVE effort and work that is, I believe, a perfect recipe for being unhappy.
After asking myself “why am I doing this?” I went back to doing what was well within my capabilities and did that for a while; stopped pushing myself; re-established the basics; stepped back and took a little time out.
I needed it, we all do from time to time.
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
I am having a crisis of confidence! I keep hitting a brick wall and seem unable to progress in my riding. I appear to be in an ever decreasing spiral of negativity, which is frustrating and troubling. Having achieved so much in such a short space of time I am beginning to think that this is as far as I will go, like some never ending treadmill, or ground-hog day and the sun will never shine. A whole bunch of clichés I know, but they best describe how I have been feeling.
Truth be told, happiness is not the absence of problems, but having the ability to deal with them. Well, what I did was turn to the internet to see if anyone was feeling the same out there (I do love the internet for motivational stuff). Anyway, I found what I was looking for and already feel better. Here’s a summary of what I found. I hope it helps you if you ever get into a rut, like me.
1. Just because I am struggling doesn’t mean that I am failing
I’ve lost my way. Whatever I try simply does not happen – I’m feeling overwhelmed. Every success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there, right?. Good things take time. So I tell myself ‘be patient and stay positive’. Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but sometime. I’m rolling with it, instead of resisting it, in the hope that the struggle will help me grow.
2. Everything in life is temporary
Fact! When it rains, it stops; when you hurt, you heal; after darkness there is light (you are reminded of this every morning). Nothing lasts forever. So if things are good right now, that’s great – enjoy it because it won’t last forever. My things are not so good, but why should I worry? that won’t last forever either! Just because I am not finding something easy at the moment, doesn’t mean I can’t laugh; just because something is not clicking into place, doesn’t mean I can’t smile.
3. Worrying and complaining changes nothing
Those who complain the most, accomplish the least. When I read this it hit the spot. Gosh, did I feel sorry for myself? Bringing everyone around me down bemoaning my fate, but spending today complaining about yesterday simply made today worse, so I decided to take action instead. It’s always better to make an attempt to do something and fail than not to attempt anything at all. I believe in my method so I will keep trying.
4. Every little struggle is a step forward
Patience has nothing to do with waiting; patience is about the keeping a good attitude while plugging away at your dreams. So I decided, if I’m going to try, put in the time and go all the way, otherwise, what is the point in starting, really? This could mean getting out of my comfort zone for a while, it could mean going it alone for a while. It is all a test of my determination, of how much I really want it. So, if I want it, I’ll do it.
Guess what? The struggle is not found on the path, it IS the path!
5. Other people’s negativity is not my problem.
An easy way to maintain enthusiasm and focus is to try to be positive when negativity surrounds you. Don’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Above all, don’t ever change what you believe to be right, just to impress someone who says you are not good enough.
People are going to talk regardless of what I do or how well (or otherwise) I do it. If you believe strongly in something, don’t be afraid to fight for it. Great strength comes from overcoming what others think is impossible.
6. The best thing I can do is to keep going.
Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again. Right now it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. It feels like I will be stuck in this rut forever, but I won’t. When I feel like quitting, I remind myself that things have to go very wrong before they can be right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.
So, armed with this information what am I going to do? Wake every morning and do my best to follow a To-Do List:
- Think positively
- Eat healthy
- Exercise today
- Worry less
- Work hard.
- Laugh often
- Sleep well
Repeat…each day. Joking aside, you only have one life. This is IT, so do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you smile, most often.
Why not have your say?
What helps you stay motivated when you’re struggling with your training regime? What is THE ‘something positive’ that you try to keep in mind when it all seems to be going horribly wrong? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts, you’ll be helping your fellow equestrians.
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
It is a rags to riches story, with the districts of Gangnam in South Korea being the least developed in Seoul until the early 80’s. Since that time it has earned it a reputation of being one of the most affluent, dynamic, and influential areas in both Seoul and South Korea as a whole. Widely known for its heavily concentrated wealth and high standards of living and often compared to California. Gangnam is considered as the national capital of education in South Korea, a country known for its high standard of education.
So, what dressage lessons can we learn from Gangnam?
- Doesn’t matter what you start with, if you work hard you can develop an awesome reputation
- Aspire to and set yourself goals to deliver high standards
- Be the very best you can be
- Education is the key .. never stop learning and learn from the best
Don’t know about you? but I’m going gangnam style … after all, 1.9 Billion You Tube viewers can’t be wrong!
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
Other motivational posts you might like …