Saturday went fairly decent. Indy was a little fussy and distracted. It wasn't horrible though and I wouldn't want her to be perfect because it's the times that her attitude pops out that I need the most help. Some days she's very good. Others, not so much. Some are in the middle. Yes, this is pretty much typical of all horses, I fully understand that. However, Indy is much more extreme. One day she is a cute and furry little Mogwai that is oh, so lovable and the next I'm wondering what asshole decided to feed her after midnight (these are references from the book and movie Gremlins in case you weren't born between the 40s when the book was written and the 80s when the movie was made). Some days it's like someone threw water on my little darling and all her alter egos morph from her.
Oh yeah, back to the clinic.
Anyway, Sunday, was not a pleasant experience, which made it a very good learning experience. It was pretty obvious from the beginning that Indy wasn't in the mood to play. Everything I asked was answered with a huge "GO AWAY!" followed by grabbing the bit and pulling it in directions that I'm still a little surprised a horse's head can go. At least she's flexible.
This is pretty much how it went:
I put my leg on.
Indy- "Take that leg and shove it. I don't want to go forward. I think I prefer shuffling. Actually, maybe any lateral direction sounds more fun."
I pick up the contact.
Indy- "OH HELL NO! You did not just touch the reins that touch the bit that is in my mouth! How's my head feel in your face?!" *flips me off*
Tracey tells me to halt.
Indy-"You can't make me! Haha!" *flips me off again*
Tracey has me try a turn on the forehand.
Indy-"HORSE ABUSE! CRUELTY TO ELEPHANTS! I will not stand for this! I shall fight until it stops by moving my body in every other direction than the one you want. Backwards and upwards or stomping/kicking sounds like a good defense to ward off this evil attack from your leg." *flip off number three*
We eventually get to trot.
"Look at me, I'm going so pretty! JUST KIDDING!!! Since you want me to bend left, I'm just going to lean against all things left and start head banging!" *insert the double bird*
I wish that this conversation was a dramatized version of the story, but it's really pretty accurate.
That moment when she finally started thinking things through.
I like riding with Tracey. She's fair and she's not mean, but she also isn't going to take "almost there" as being good enough. Once you get one thing fixed she will immediately go to the next thing (and you're doing well if it is only one thing instead of two or three or ten) that isn't correct. She will push hard. She will call it like it is and draw attention to every mistake you're making in the present, but also the ones that you probably made in the past that have led to the issues now. She will adjust every flaw in your position, you will learn to post perfectly, the basics will be hammered into your brain until you get it. She will not baby you.
It's worth it though. If you can handle all that she throws at you, you WILL come out better. So far it seems like I did. I tried hard, I drew a line, I didn't lose my composure during the lesson. I learned to be tougher, to disconnect from the personal aspect (she's a horse being a horse, her problem, not mine, etc.), to make sure that I didn't go away no matter what fuss Indy put up.
We made it through alive. I was actually happy with what I learned. I didn't mind Tracey pushing for more or calling me on everything that I was doing wrong. It would have been way more insulting to have her think that my horse and I aren't capable of more.
That didn't keep me from leading Indy out of the barn and bursting into tears. I don't know why. Mental and physical exhaustion? Release of tension? I can't remember the last time Indy made me cry. I vowed a long time ago not to, no matter what, because owning and riding her is an opportunity and that's enough to be grateful for, I'm not entitled to have good rides every time. We'll just call Sunday an exception and move on.
I gave Indy Monday off, we both needed it. After having a day to process everything I learned, I was able to apply it better. We've had nothing but good rides since and my lesson today was full of very excellent quality work from Indy.
Back when I played basketball my friend would always say, "You're the only person I know that can be upside down, backwards, and surrounded by players and you'll usually make the shot, but when you're open and in the clear, you miss it almost every time." The fact is that this really relates to my riding. I needed to be pushed, to get knocked around, to have to perform better. I needed the extra pressure that day. It might not have come easily, but what I learned in that clinic will stick with me always. Like The Fiancé said, it needed to happen. It did and Indy and I are that much better because of it.
That being said, that's what clinicians are paid for. They come, they push, they leave. I sure as hell wouldn't want that type of intensity every single lesson, just like I wouldn't have wanted that kind of pressure every time I shot a basketball in practice. Getting back to the normal grind with my trainer in my lesson today was a very refreshing experience. She still pushes me, but I get a little more time to take all that she is telling me in. Riding with her is very calming, yet still challenging, to me and that is more what I need on a regular basis. Especially with Indy.