Thursday 8/03/2012

Hi Fantastic Riders!! 🙂

I just had two lessons this week with Heath Ryan!

Probably the best thing I got out of it was… chill out! 🙂

Let me explain.

Grand Prix is a challenge.


A teeny tiny challenge 🙂 (My language I force myself to use instead of the %^&ing hardest, soul destroying, meanest, toughest, complex, frustrating thing in the world) … I exaggerate, it is whatever I decide it to be, and I decide it will be fun, I decide it will be easy, I decide I will enjoy it … but I am also very very human and the above experience I describe does also crop up from time to time 🙂

You see if I ride a Preliminary test, and my horse loses concentration, or falls in, or loses balance, or something happens… I can fix it in the millisecond of the stride, and continue on without the judge seeing anything, and me not missing a beat, and not losing any part of the test… but that took me… oh about 10 years to be able to do that!

However, when I am in the middle of the Grand Prix and we lose it, I can’t get it back in that millisecond – it takes me 1-2 strides. Now that’s fine, except in something like the 15 one time tempi’s – I don’t have a stride! I have to keep it straight, forward, collected, through… as well as I need to sit back, do less, less hand, more leg, plus count up to 15 – don’t laugh!!! – with everything else going on that can be a challenge in itself!  

I kept beating myself up, saying be better! Learn more! Feel it quicker! 

The funny thing is logic is one thing, feeling it and doing it another entirely. 

The fact is – I have done over 500 dressage tests in my life. Only 10 of them have been the Grand Prix test. Yes, that’s right for those playing at home…

That’s 2% – only 2% of my dressage riding career has been at this level! So perhaps is there any wonder it’s taking me a sec to figure it all out 🙂

As I said to Heath – I’m ok if you say go do 20 ones, or go the piaffe. But when you put it all together in a test, movement after movement after movement, and you have to keep you and the horse together, pushing to the limits of the best you can do in EVERY stride. Well ya, it takes a sec to learn that. It takes a bit of time to pull it all together. Not just for me, but my poor horse too! You see if Abe loses it – I’m not the old experienced one who can save him and help him out of it… and the same for him if I lose it.

So I keep going, and I keep playing, and I keep enjoying the experience and the fun or the learning and the growing. All I know is I want to compete as much as possible, so I have more and more goes at this! Practice makes perfect and I know once I knock up my 500th Grand Prix, I will be a lot wiser and lot better rider to help my horse do his best in the ring.

So I’m sure you can relate to what I am going through … because I went through this when I first started to ride, and then again when I did my first prelim test, and again in Novice and again in Elementary, etc! Every time you learn something knew and are forced out of your comfort zone from what you knew, to out there where you don’t know. It is a challenge, there needs to be time to adjust and learn and figure it out! So I trust you are all having fun in your journey’s, where ever you are in them and take the advice given to me – chill out, relax, you will get this! Everything you need to know you know, its just bringing it all together and you will! 🙂

To Your Success,

Natasha Althoff Signature


p.s. – If you would like to watch the Heath Ryan lesson from earlier this week, click here if you are a Your Riding Success member.

p.p.s. – Love to hear how this has helped in your riding journey!! :)