Clay and I are done showing for this year. I've decided to put my limited time, energy and $ into lessons and clinics, in an attempt to get us solid at Second Level and schooling some Third.
We've been schooling the Second movements all summer. I can always tell when we are kind of plateau-ing and in need of a kick in the pants...our rides are starting to feel a bit mundane, but I'm not sure how to move forward and I don't want to mess up. That means it's time for a lesson.
I signed up for a clinic with a Grand Prix competitor and USEF "S" judge happening this Monday a few hours from home. Can hardly wait! It'll be my first time lessoning on Clay with someone other than Gina or Kate.
This woman judged us at a show last summer, so I am curious if she'll remember us at all, and her bio on her website is very interesting...looks like she has trained a lot of different breeds of horses up through the levels. For my mutt-pony and me, that is encouraging to see.
And so, with leaving First Level behind and moving on, we are headed into uncharted waters...everything past what we've already schooled of Second Level is new to both of us. I am anticipating a couple moments of panic in the upcoming clinic, when the trainer inevitably says something in Dressage-lingo that I don't understand, and I fumble around aimlessly for a minute before admitting I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing.
Looking like a fool is part of the learning process, and I am 100% OK with doing it in front of Gina or Kate...but looking like a fool in front of a new trainer and an audience (it's one of those symposium-style clinics....gulp!) will be slightly more embarrassing. Deep breathes and a sense of humor–these are our secret weapons for surviving and learning the most we can.
I enjoy learning and growing with this pony so much. He's my perfect match and I couldn't be having more fun on this journey. I know he'll attack every new challenge eagerly, and I'm just trying my best to keep up and to do him justice.
These photos are from the last lesson we had with Gina, just a day before the June horse show. I love Clay's focused expression. I was huffing and puffing, feeling out of shape and sluggish with my aids, but he was still trying his heart out for me and forgiving me my rustiness.
On to the next step!