This past weekend Chance and I had the great opportunity to ride in a two-day clinic with Shannon Peters thanks to a $400 grant I received from The Dressage Foundation. It was so much fun! On Saturday Shannon started right off the bat by giving a few corrections to my position on the horse. She has a great eye, this was just when I was walking around on a long rein! She said that, since I am a longer waisted rider, I have to fight the urge to always sit slightly to forward in the torso and really work on actually sitting deep and on my seat, using my core stabilize myself. Also, I need to work on keeping my elbows bent, my fingers closed around the reins, and my pinkies turned towards each other slightly. For my leg position she had me work on pulling my lower leg back by using the back of my thigh instead of just bending my knee, which tends to pull my leg too far forward. Once we covered that it was time to get to work. The first day we really just concentrated on my position while riding and the ability to use my aids affectively. It was incredible, once I was sitting more properly I was able to keep Chance in front of the leg instead of letting him fall behind me, which then causes me to lean forward. Also, when he feels stiff in the bridle I really need ot remember the outside rein instead of relying so much on the inside rein. By the end of the day I was really happy with some of the improvements we had made to my seat, but I felt like I forgot a little bit about the rest of my of my body and the next day I wanted to be more tactfull with my legs and hands and really work on my ability to make corrections softly and smoothly.
So on Sunday Chance and I came out ready to work. Today Shannon went over the changes I needed to make to my position once again to be a more affective and accurate rider. She said "A good rider isn't perfect tht, a good rider is someone who comes out each day with the goal of always correcting themselves and trying to be better. It's the idea of perfection that drives us, but we will never be perfect." With that in mind I tried to work hard the entire lesson on making sure I was riding as best as I could for Chance. We got to go over some good bending exercises in the trot, such as haunches-in and half-pass, and we also got to do a few lines of three and four tempi changes in the canter. In the end I was really happy with our ride and I feel like I have so much great stuff to work on. Sometimes I get frustrated or upset when I feel that I'm not doing a good enough job for Chance, but I just have to remember that I need time to learn, grow, and make the mistakes. Luckily Chance is such a forgiving horse and he is always up for letting me try one more time to get it right. I can't wait to keep working on everything that Shannon taught me about and I'm excited to see how Chance and I will develop together. I feel so lucky to have such an incredible horse and we have so much fun together. He will get a day off today and then we'll have a couple of lessons with Ashleigh before we head over to Westworld in Scottsdale for a low-key show this weekend as a warm-up for the next big CDI in California at the end of April. I'll let you know how the show goes!