I had a great time at the Ida Anderson Norris clinic yesterday at Ebony Oaks Farm. Jen was a wonderful host and made us feel right at home. She welcomed Mike and Pehr to hang out in her house (and even brought out her kids' old baby toys for Pehr to play with!)
There was a really nice (and healthy!) lunch spread, which hit the spot after the three-hour drive to get there. Ida gave a great talk after lunch about the biomechanics of proper bend in the horse.
This was Clay's first time hauling that far away from home, doing a lesson and then getting right back in the trailer...he was absolutely perfect about the whole thing, and even stalled next to a mare without incident, which was a nice surprise...Why isn't he a gentleman like that at home?? ;):P :PAs for me, that was my first dressage clinic with someone other than Gina or Kate (gulp!)
My lesson was challenging even though we mostly stayed at the walk. Both Clay and I were sweaty messes by the end! We worked on fixing a couple weak spots in our base training that will really impact things as we forge ahead into Second Level.
Sadly, I don't have any photos or video of our ride...my photographer was busy parenting. :P And it didn't occur to me to bring a tripod/the GoPro until five minutes before we were running out the door, and of course the battery was dead. This kind of scatter-brained behavior is pretty much the norm for me these days, guys. What they say about sleep-deprivation completely ruining you is very, very true. I am running on fumes all the time and it's not awesome. Darn baby. ;) Anyway...
Maybe it was nerves or maybe I am just kind of a zombie, but in any case it took me a bit to settle in and turn my brain on. Ida's teaching style is definitely different from Gina's and Kate's, and I felt like I wasn't quite understanding her until halfway through the lesson when Brain decided to show up to the party.
I also had trouble coordinating all of my aids and getting my timing right. Clay, bless his heart, was gracious about my clumsiness and tried to understand what we were going for. There were a couple nice moments where I felt it all clicking.
And then, last night I dreamt of perfect turns with correct bend, and Clay in the outside rein. So I guess the lesson must have sunk in while I slept. I wish I could go back for a second lesson now! I'm looking forward to my next ride on Clay, now that I know what I learned. Even though I wasn't on my A-game, I came away knowing things I hadn't known before. Mission accomplished.
As a rider and an instructor I feel that it's very important for me to go outside my comfort zone on occasion, since I ask that of my students as well. Sometimes that can be uncomfortable and you feel like an idiot, but if we all get told we look lovely and perfect all the time, we won't improve. I'm not interested in that.
And living where we do, in a very rural area, you have to make an effort to get yourself out there and take every learning opportunity that comes along...even if it means driving six hours round trip. It's important to have fresh, impartial and knowledgeable eyes on you and your horse every now and then, to make sure you're on the right track.
I owe a big thanks to my husband for driving and hanging out all day with the baby so I could have this experience...and she can't read yet, but thanks to my trooper baby too for tolerating the long car rides! I am a lucky lady to get to do what I love.