This summer, every single one of you has blossomed before my eyes and climbed a few more rungs on the endless ladder of riding and horsemanship skill. It has been a perfect storm of great weather, lots of regular lessons, horses who are behaving and staying sound, and a few clinics and shows sprinkled in to give you some extra motivation. Indeed, this is a recipe for success, but it's your participation and willing attitudes that have allowed you to benefit from the circumstances.
I know perfectly well how hard it is sometimes to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, to not just do the comfortable thing all the time, and to work hard towards a goal that sometimes seems very far away or unrealistic. All of you have shown real grit and determination to improve, and boy, let me tell you how much fun that makes it for lucky ol' me!
We all have "sticking points" in our riding; bad habits or hang-ups that haunt us for years. For some people it's relaxing at the canter. "Just enjoy it! Your balance is great! Relaaaaaax," the trainer will yelp, but the whole time you are terrified and a movie is playing in your head of all the horrible ways this 20-meter-canter-circle will probably end.
For some people it's an equitation flaw; heels that won't stay down, hands that want to grab and balance on the reins, shoulders that hunch forward even though you're *sure* you're pulling them back. We're usually not aware we're doing these things, and awareness is the first step in breaking the habit. Personally, I have several of these issues and my body is always coming up with new ones the instant I manage to nip one in the bud. It's a constant struggle. Last week my trainer said to me, "What on earth are you doing with your lower leg all of a sudden? I've never seen you do that before." Great.
The point is, I've witnessed all of you leave your various sticking points in the dust this summer, once and for all, and I fully appreciate how hard that is to do. Bravo, students. From this very happy instructor to each of you, thank you for a super fun summer. Oh, and it's not over! Don't think you can slack off now! ;)