Over this past weekend, my husband Martin, earned his USDF Gold Medal. In our sport of Dressage this is a huge deal as it shows that the rider has shown adequate proficiency at the highest level of our sport.
Oftentimes, the journey towards achieving a goal can be a tumultuous road of setbacks, intense emotions and self discovery. One moment you feel in control, excited and hopeful. The next you feel completely dejected and like a total failure.
I think back to my experience earning my USDF Gold Medal. Boy did that Grand Prix humble me! I had no idea how tough the experience would be. I have always trained my own horses and the level of forward energy, engagement and balance needed for the Grand Prix was really eye opening for me!
When I look back on the experience and reflect all that I’ve learned, I can appreciate that it was in the failures that I grew the most as a rider. With each 58 or 59% I would reflect on what movements I needed to improve but, I really would go home and work on basics, trying to make my horses balance better, his trot more cadenced and his body more supple. When the horse is in the right energy, engagement and balance, the movements come easily.
I did have times where I would question if I were a good enough rider to train my horse...I had never even ridden passage- how was i supposed to train it? Fortunately, I was able to draw from my past experience- I had never ridden tempis until I did, I had never ridden a pirouette until I did, so, I knew that one way or another I would figure it out. Ultimately, my intense faith in myself won out and I did earn my gold medal.
With each perceived failure, you have one of two options: give up or dig your heels in and give it all you’ve got. Half the battle is just sticking with it. Have faith in yourself and know that accomplishing your goal can be a reality if you keep the right perspective. Perseverance is everything!
When you finally achieve what you have been working towards, you will be grateful for the end result but it’s in the hard work, the struggle, the failures, and the tears that you will experience the most growth. It’s in this growth that we become better riders, better athletes and better people.
Surrender to the experience. Be present each day as you work towards your goal because when you finally do achieve it, this glorious time of adventure and learning will only be a memory. We tend to focus on the future...if only I had XYZ, THEN I would be happy but, happiness is now, in this moment. Embrace it.
I wish you all the most beautiful experience of learning and growth as you journey towards your goal, whatever that may be.
I invite you to Awaken to the Truth of your Divine nature. You are love, you are loved and you are always enough.
I like to start each morning with a little inspirational reading even before i get out of bed or have my coffee. Before I dive into emails or Facebook or thinking about all the tasks I have to do on a given day, I take a few moments to center myself with a few deep breaths and then see what my reading has for me that day. Oftentimes it’s beautifully synchroniztic to what I need to hear in that moment.
I read two things: Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Bernhardt which I love and I read the Daily Word put out from Unity each day. (www.dailyword.com) Today’s word was Free. For me, “free” is one of those words that can really make me feel something. Try closing your eyes and whisper the word free. Just by saying that word, I feel more uplifted, unrestrained and isn’t that what free means? Unrestrained? How can we live more freely and unrestrained every day?
What restrains you in your everyday life? What holds you back from living your best life? For me, it was always the fear of disappointing others or not being liked. I bet I’m not alone on that one. I can be painfully shy at times afraid that if I am my truest self, perhaps I won’t be accepted. I used to try projecting the image I thought others wanted to see instead of embracing and proudly owning who I truly am. I’ve done a lot of work on myself in this area and the sense of liberation I feel now that I’ve embraced my authentic self is life changing. Granted, it’s not all the time but we are all works in progress!
Whenever you are faced with a decision, think of the possible reactions you can have and ask yourself “Is this in alignment with who I am?”. This one question is enough to shift your life. Before responding to a scathing email from a place of anger, pause and take a moment to ask yourself if that is the person you want to be. Would you rather respond from a place of love? And being loving and compassionate doesn’t mean you let others walk over you. Anger serves a purpose and you should honor any feeling and emotion you have but ask yourself, “What is this anger trying to tell me”? Oftentimes anger is bringing up places in ourselves where we could use a little self love. I know I can become angry if I feel ignored because I have some past insecurities around not being heard. When I feel that anger rising up, I can put my hand on my chest and honor the anger I feel and offer myself love. I can breathe deeply and repeat a little mantra like “I honor my feelings and send myself love”. Don’t repress and ignore your feelings and emotions. Honor them but don’t necessarily believe them. Just because you have a belief does not make it true. You may believe you are unworthy of love but nothing could be further from the truth. So, just because you feel something does not make it true.
Just working through emotions in this way can go a long way towards liberating you from the restraints you place upon yourself.
What keeps you from being free and living your most beautiful, authentic life? I promise you that the best version of yourself exists, you need only to believe it. Shed your chains and set yourself free!
I invite you to Awaken to the Truth of your Divine nature. You are love, you are loved and you are always enough.
My birthday was this week. The celebration of my birth all those years ago! Being that my birthday falls pretty much mid year it’s a perfect time for me to reflect on my goals and aspirations that I put into place at the beginning of the year- places in which I’ve made a lot of growth and other areas which I could improve.
I also got to thinking about birthdays in general and what they represent- a celebration of the day we entered the physical world. On birthdays we celebrate our emergence onto this planet in the physical sense but I encourage you to look at not only your birthday but each day as an opportunity for a rebirth into the image of who you truly are, and who you want to become.
This is the re-birth of the spirit, the spirit that we so often lose as young children as the ego begins to take hold. Much of life is simply the process of returning to spirit. Sometimes the awakening can be dramatic and swift, but most often it is like the unfolding of a lotus blossom. It takes time and patience.
Each morning when you awaken, you have a new day ahead of you, full of opportunities for growth and enrichment of the spirit. Even in times of tribulation - especially in times of tribulation, you have a beautiful opportunity to connect back into the Source of unending love and compassion. Each time you encounter something that makes you uncomfortable, lean into it and have faith that you will experience great growth that can lead you down a path of reconnection back to spirit. Each day is a birthing of a new and more loving version of your self.
As the creator of your reality, you will be faced with decisions constantly that will sculpt the direction of your life. You have the power to make dramatic change, if you wish. Have courage. Have faith. Listen to your inner knowing for it is wise beyond understanding.
Love without limits, have no fear and let God guide you towards enlightenment.
Embrace each day as a celebration of the birth of your ever evolving soul.
I invite you to Awaken to the Truth of your Divine nature. You are love, you are loved and you are always enough.
It’s in the silent moment of the pause that you can begin to shift your life.
Many of us operate life on autopilot. We wake up, drink our coffee, head to work, work all day, pick up the kids, cook dinner and go to bed late feeling totally overwhelmed and wondering if this is all there is to life.
We do not take the time to connect inward, to discover or reconnect to who and what we really are. We have lost ourselves to the drudgery of day to day tasks. We feel frustrated, overwhelmed, angry and disconnected from others and from ourselves.
I invite you throughout the day to schedule in a one minute “pause”. In that one minute, check in with yourself. How am I feeling mentally? Physically? Emotionally? Label what you feel. Then just close your eyes and breathe. Focus on each inhalation and exhalation. Feel your chest rise and fall with each breath. Feel the air as it enters your nostrils.
If you can do one minute each hour, it would go a long way towards re centering you. In these small moments of pause and of silence, you can hear your inner voice, your intuition that is hoarse from trying to shout over the commotion in your mind. Your inner guidance system can help you to connect in to your life purpose, your mission and your true self. If it seems like too much to do a minute each hour, start with a minute or two three times a day to begin to train your mind and soon you will be able to pause in any situation.
For much of my life, I truly felt disconnected from myself. I lived life on autopilot. From a distance it looked like I had everything I ever could have wanted but I always yearned for more. When asked “who are you”, I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know. I would then become angry and judgmental of myself- why aren’t you more grateful? You have everything- why are you unhappy and unfulfilled? It was only when I stepped inward and began to get to know myself that things shifted dramatically for me. I reconnected with my purpose or perhaps connected with it for the first time. My perspective on everything shifted and for the first time in my life I felt truly filled with joy and fulfillment.
It was the moment of pausing that allowed me to go inward and connect. In today’s society we are rarely in silence. We are constantly bombarded with information. We are never far away from our screens, we usually have music on in the background and we are busy busy busy! Running from one activity and responsibility to the next. By taking moment to pause, you can dramatically change your life.
Pausing gives you the space that creates awareness. Instead of responding to that heated email in a moment of anger, take a moment to pause and re center. Before yelling at your kids, pause and give thanks for your blessings. If you’re trying to lose weight, pause before grabbing that chocolate covered donut. By creating space, you allow your mind to be reprogrammed from its automated responses. You can ask yourself in that moment- how will I feel if I take this action? Most likely regret will follow. By taking the moment to pause now you can avoid the moment of regret later.
It sounds so simple but we do so much automatically that it will take some time to change those reactions but it all starts with the power of the pause.
I invite you to Awaken to the Truth of your Divine nature. You are love, you are loved and you are always enough.
Each day we have the chance to be the absolute best version of ourselves. With each thought, word and deed, we create our reality and with those experiences we can step into the person we were always meant to be.
When learning how to step into your brilliance, the first question to ask is:
What does the best version of you look like? What does it feel like to be that person? If the best version of you is warm hearted and compassionate, let these characteristics guide you in your everyday experiences. With each interaction, ask yourself “How would the most compassionate version of myself respond to this?” And then live that truth.
If the best version of you as a rider is as a successful Grand Prix rider, step into that identity. How does it feel to be that person? What traits do you need to cultivate to become that person? Maybe by adding in a more structured fitness routine or by adding more hours in the saddle each week. Perhaps you need to work on the lunge or without stirrups to create the seat of a Grand Prix rider.
Remember that in order to get what you want and move forward you must change the routine and the reaction you have to the experiences in your life right now. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
In order to step into your brilliance, you must develop some resilience to not care what others think. There will always be people trying to snuff out your light but by connecting to the Truth of who you really are you can start to find peace outside the confines of judgement and criticism. For some people, your light shining just reminds them of how lonely they are in the darkness so they may try to pull you back in the darkness with them with their cruel words and gossip. Just keep shining! Do not judge them as they do not know any better. Send them love and send them light and then move on. Do not dwell. There are many others that will see your light as an inspiration, as a beacon that illuminates them out of their own darkness and allows them to step into their own brilliance.
Allow light and love to radiate out of you, not because you want validation or approval or even because you want to help others. Step into your brilliance because it is in your nature to do so.
Step into your brilliance, own it. Stand up and say “THIS is who I am.” Such liberation can be found by connecting into your authentic self. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t just to make others happy. Don’t hide who you are because you feel it’s the only way you’ll be accepted. This sort of disconnection from your true self can only lead to disharmony, frustration and anger.
Step into your brilliance! I invite you to Awaken to the Truth of your Divine nature. You are love, you are loved and you are always enough.
Everyday each one of us faces the challenges before us. Sometimes the problems are small and sometimes they are large- life and death (or it may seem like that in the moment). How we face our challenges says a lot about the person that we are, the person that we want to be and how much happiness and joy we experience in our life.
I encourage you all to face your challenges and fears with an open heart. Ask yourself, “what can I learn from this situation?” instead of reacting from a place of fear which will often only lead to worry which is one of the biggest wastes of time and energy there is. Worrying will only rob you of any chance of happiness in the present moment and the present moment is all there is.
In Whatever Arises, Love That, by Matt Kahn he explains that “We entertain ourselves with worry when we don’t know what to trust. When you trust in what remains beyond temporary form, you are trusting in all that you are, as all that is.” When you begin to have faith in the Universe and something beyond yourself, it brings acceptance that wherever you are on your path, it’s right where you are meant to be.
Let your own growth and development be your highest purpose and open yourself to the lessons and opportunities that arise from every situation. Each day we encounter moments in which we can choose who we want to be. With every choice we make, we decide who we want to be. We are constantly creating our own realities. Live with compassion, kindness and love- not just for those you encounter but for yourself as well.
Let learning be your goal. Allow yourself to become a student of the process. In horsemanship even masters in their 80s still claim to be students of their art. Try not to let your focus be on outside factors like a score or a show placing but instead place your attention on cultivating yourself as an artist, which is what you are if you are a rider. You and your horse are clay to be sculpted and developed over time. Let self mastery be your goal and your intuition be your guidance.
Face each challenge you may face in your riding endeavors with curiosity and openness but never judgement. Aim to have faith in the Universe and trust the process. Discovering your inner connection to the Divine through meditation and creative outlets like writing, painting, and riding can deepen your trust in the Universe and in yourself.
I invite you to Awaken to the Truth of divine nature. You are love, you are loved and you are always enough.
Last year I became a chicken farmer. I bought 8 day old chicks and raised them up to laying hens which we now enjoy immensely with their comic demeanor and of course fresh farm eggs. So, as I tend to do when I find something I enjoy, I went all in and ordered new chicks for this year, all in more rare and beautiful breeds. In order to decrease stress by having them sent to me through the post office, I decided to drive an hour to pick them up. Although I hadn’t been to this town before it was near the route I used to drive when I was in college so I had a pretty good idea of where I was going. So, like any good modern person in our society, I typed the address into my iPhone and went on my way. About 25 minutes in, my phone had me take a turn and proceed to an alternate route than what I had planned on in my mind.
As I drove down backroads past beautiful, shady pecan orchards and the green rolling hills of east central Texas, I started thinking about what I was experiencing in that moment. It was exciting to be on a road that I had never travelled. It was filled with possibility but also a little bit of fear. What if I had car trouble and no phone service on these quiet roads? But, of course the excitement of forging a new path pushed me forward through the fear of “what ifs”.
So many of us live life on autopilot. We let the grooves in the record of our life become deeper and deeper while we yearn for more. We question, “was I meant for something greater?”. We say, I’ll write that book later when I have more time or if I could just lose weight I would be happy- yet you never make a lifestyle change that will allow the transformation to happen. Stepping outside the comfort zone is scary and for some the fear of the unknown keeps them planted firmly where they are, even when their soul is calling out for more.
One of the most profound sayings I have ever heard is “Don’t die with the music still inside you”. I believe we are all here for some divine purpose yet many of us still slumber in the routines of our human existence. It’s time to awaken to who you truly are - a divine being of ultimate love here to express that love to yourself and others and it starts by listening to that wise inner voice. It’s the voice of intuition that calls you to your greatest purpose but most of us have blinders on, not understanding that we have all the answers inside of us if only we learn how to listen.
I encourage you to listen to that inner voice. It may say something like, “maybe I should try an art class” or “I wonder what is down that path.” It is ok to feel some fear but I encourage you to take a leap- you may find something truly extraordinary on the other side.
If this is too new agey for you, there is an entire area of study called “neuroplasticity” that studies the ability of the brain to change throughout a persons life by creating new neural pathways. By the age of 25 most pathways are set and so creating new ones can come along with some sense of fear and discomfort. Fear of the unknowns, fear of the “what if’s”. But remember, growth only occurs outside of your comfort zone! By creating new neural pathways you will keep your brain young and fit! So, take that class, go explore a new part of your city or take a different route to work.
Let the excitement of forging a new path push you forward through the fear of “what if’s”.
I invite you to Awaken to your divine nature. You are love, you are loved and you are always enough.
Any athletic or artistic endeavor requires us to embrace vulnerability. In competition riding we put ourselves on display for not only the judges but also our competitors, the general public which includes the ever present “railbirds”. At times we are subjected to the cruelty of others. I would bet many of you have a story where hurtful comments have been made either directly to you or you heard what was said behind your back. I’ve been shocked hearing some of the things my students have been told not only by their peers but even by previous trainers! Sometimes the comments were incredibly cruel, hurtful and unkind. Putting yourself “out there” whether in competition or in a clinic or lesson is an act of courage but in order to maintain the enjoyment of the activity, some resilience is necessary or one would quit at the first negative comment.
I think the first step to learning to be resilient is to acknowledge any feelings that arise. If something was said to you or about you that hurt your feelings, identify that. Let your body and mind communicate with you whatever it is you feel, whether it be anger, sadness, frustration, loneliness etc... Until you allow yourself to feel what emotions arise, you will not be able to move forward. We live in a society of emotional repression and i think that’s a dangerous way to live. Meditate, sit in stillness and own your feelings. After that, I think it’s a great idea to get your feelings out on paper. Journal or use automatic writing. Purge your mind, body and spirit of the blockages preventing you from taking forward action. When you clear the space of these trapped emotions, you will have the ability to move on.
Secondly, as country artist Patty Loveless sings, “Life’s about changing nothing ever stays the same.”. The first of three marks of existence in Buddhist teaching is the idea of non permanence. Situations are fluid, constantly changing. Working towards creating an ability to adapt in challenging situations will help you be able to become more resilient in times of difficulty. People that are able to “go with the flow” and be flexible are going to be much better overcoming obstacles than those that are rigid in their mind set and expectations. Embrace change as an opportunity for growth. Remember, growth only occurs outside of your comfort zone!
Third, and this is a big one...work towards creating a higher self esteem. This of course, is a fluid process in itself. Letting harsh comments roll of your shoulder instead of taking them personally will go along way in keeping the joy in your pursuits. However, this is so much easier said than done! In one of my favorite books, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, he explains “Others are going to have their own opinion according to their belief system, so nothing they think about me is really about me, but it is about them.” When I encounter a difficult situation where I feel on the receiving end of an unjustified hurtful comment or action, I tell myself that what was said or done ultimately had nothing to do with me and was a result of that persons own insecurities or belief system. It sounds simple but sometimes just changing our perspective on the situation can allow you to see it in a whole new light. Jesus says to “turn the other cheek.” Cruel words and gossip can feel like being slapped in the face. Reacting to cruelty with anger and revenge only creates a never ending cycle until someone is strong enough and wise enough to rise above it!
As a professional, one of my biggest challenges is when a client or horse moves on to a different trainer, especially when they’ve been with us a long time. All professional trainers know this feeling. Often there is no explanation and so we are left wondering...what did I do wrong? In this situation I have come to understand that peoples situations change and perhaps we were only meant to be on this journey together for a short time. Maybe that person leaving will create the space for someone new to step in that is eager to learn from our knowledge. If your sad or disappointed allow yourself to feel it. If you’re angry, allow yourself to feel that. Then move on. Learn from the situation what you can but then move on and focus on the present moment and give your focus and attention to those that remain.
The final step in creating resilience is reconnecting with your purpose. My mission is to share my passion and love of classical Dressage to all who want to partake and when somebody says goodbye I trust in the Universe/God that there is a plan. By reconnecting with our purpose we step outside ourself and can see the bigger picture. Perhaps someone said something mean about your riding or your horse. Reconnect with why you started riding in the first place. Let their comments fuel your fire but not out of anger or vengeance but to become the best rider that you can be for YOU. Let growth of the spirit be your ultimate goal.
It’s so important that when we create resilience in ourselves that we do not close our heart in the process. This is what I personally find most challenging. Whenever we put ourselves out there we open ourselves up to potential pain and struggle but also to love and joy and friendship. Speaking from experience, it is not worth losing the good by keeping out the bad. No risk, no reward or as Shakespeare says “Better to have loved and lost than to never have been loved at all!” It’s natural for us to put up walls when we get hurt so we can’t get hurt again but a wall is a wall- you can’t keep out the bad without keeping out the good.
Strive to live with an open heart. Allow difficult situations to fuel your growth. Live a wholehearted life. To quote Brené Brown, “Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.”
And remember, no matter what anybody else says, you truly are enough, just as you are.
Until next time, express love in all you do, think and say.
Today I wanted to share my two cents on what to do when you are presented with a challenging situation. Last week our group attended one of the biggest shows in our region. I entered Freedance in the CDI small tour (PSG Friday, I1 Saturday and I1 Freestyle Sunday) and I entered Jypsy Rose into her very first PSG all 3 days.
Friday was pretty rough. I was so focused on keeping Freedance round in his top line that I sacrificed balance in our PSG test which led to some uncharacteristic mistakes and we scored the lowest we have scored in that test. I knew I would have to deal with Jypsys nerves and tension in her test but it was more extreme than I expected and I don’t think I had one step of walk in all the walk work! Needless to say this didn’t lead to a very good score. On top of it all my almost three year old daughter seemed to hit the “threenager” stage that day. I felt overwhelmed and like a big failure.
My normal response would be to criticize and berate myself for entering the show at all and then I would direct anger at myself for riding poorly or feeling like I didn’t prepare myself or my horses properly. It’s amazing how mean we can be to ourselves. We say things to ourself we would never say to a friend! What I needed to do in this state was to reframe my mind and my perspective.
The first question to ask yourself is what went well? What can I be proud of? With Freedance the CDI was my goal to work towards these last few months after having the baby. Having this goal pushed me to work on my fitness and nutrition goals. I’m proud of how rideable Freedance is in the show ring. He can be tense in the warm up with other horses at times so it was a big win that we had a good, relaxed warm up and as soon as we go in the show ring he was confident and brave. With Jypsy, she warmed up beautifully and is really feeling ready for the level. I’ve felt really stuck with her for a long time and was worried she wouldn’t progress much further but over the last two months back in the saddle I feel she is finding herself especially in the canter and I’m thrilled with how she feels. She did get very tense once we went into the main arena (and away from all other horses) and became extremely vocal! But aside from the not walking debacle we only had two small mistakes and much of the test felt quite good. I could be very proud of that.
The second question to ask is what can I learn from this situation? With Freedance I learned that with his tricky neck I need to ride the contact a little more open so he can lift his shoulders to be in a better balance. With Jypsy I understood my job is to be the best leader I can be to coach her through her nerves.
This next one is a big one- Set new short term goals. My goal for the next day with Freedance was to ride him a little more open and a little more engaged from behind. We ended up with a clean test and scored almost 64% and placed 6th! With Jypsy I just wanted her to call less than the day before which she did and we had no jigs in the walk and had a totally clean test to break into the 60s! I was thrilled with both horses.
I think it’s easy to get focused on the outcome which we really have little to no control over. What we do have control over is how we choose to perceive the situation and we can choose what changes to make that will lead to improvement in the future. Allow your goals to be flexible. You may go into the show expecting a certain score or result but maybe the horse is nervous in the arena or struggles with a specific movement. Adjust your goal to having a more relaxed horse than yesterday or more success in a specific movement and don’t be angry with yourself if it isn’t perfect. Perfectionism is the enemy of progress! Look for the lessons in all situations that will lead to the greatest growth. Don’t dwell on the mistakes but do learn from them. Sometimes when bad things happen they lead to the greatest opportunity for growth.
Remember your thoughts create your reality. Express love in all you do and you can’t lose!
Until next time,
When I competed in horse judging at Texas A&M, my horse judging instructor would always say "don't miss the forest for the trees". In other words, do not get so hung up on every tiny detail that you forget to take in the entire picture. I think this quote works beautifully when we think about our own dressage training.
Dressage by it's very nature teaches us to be exquisitely obsessed with small details. When we look at a competitive dressage test, it is broken down into individual movements which are they broken down into the components of the training scale. In a single transition, our horses must be in front of the leg, soft over the back, softly chewing on the bit, the poll the highest point, straight through the body, actively engaged and uphill. Then there is the rider, that must be sitting tall with correct alignment from shoulder to hip to heal, riding with soft hands and a strong but not too strong seat, eyes up, shoulders back and the seat adhesive. They must ride the transition accurately at the letter...not too early or too late. The transition must stay engaged, connected, straight and collected. And that is all for one single transition!
When riders are first starting out, it's so important for an instructor not to overwhelm the students. Eventually, the student will become a master of multitasking but in the beginning, it's best just to work on their body control before they work to control the horse at all. This is why lunge lessons are so valuable!
Once the rider is fairly well educated and working more and more on the small details, it can become so easy to get hung up on the one little thing that maybe isn't going so well. For example, the flying change, which in my experience can be one of the most difficult movements for the horse to learn. (Some are prodigies with changes but so many others really struggle and it takes a good bit of time to get them confirmed) So, what do we do?? WE OBSESS over the change! That becomes our sole focus. We focus so hard on the damn tree that we miss the entire forest (or the entire picture about what is happening with the horse).
Boy, have I been guilty of this before. Years ago one of my horses had a chronically late flying change one direction. I would work a little bit on some different exercises but then I would just try so hard to fix the change IN the change. I would ride the canter a little bigger, then a little smaller, then coming from a half pass and then coming from a counter leg yield and on and on and on. I would drill the bejesus out of those flying changes and guess what, they never got any better!! However, when I calmly stepped back to really assess the entire picture, I could see that in my walk to canter transitions, my horse would stiffen his back or be a little behind my aids. By taking the focus off the actual problem and looking at the whole picture with a wider field of view, I was able to figure out a way to get at the change without attacking the change directly. By shifting the focus to the overall canter quality, the change was finally made to come clean.
It's also so important to look at the whole picture and see what is going well. This is a tough one for most riders. We try so hard to chip away at the difficult things that sometimes we just brush past the things that the horse finds very easy. It's ok to feel a little pride in the things that your horse does really well. For example, if you are working to collect your horses canter and they are struggling due to a lack of strength, it's ok to acknowledge that even though collection is still difficult, you are indeed very happy with how the horse feels in the connection or how they feel laterally. Then analyze the problem and see if you can find the root cause of the issue.
My mare, Jypsy is in this phase right now. Before she makes the jump to the FEI level, she needs much more strength and balance in her canter. Yes, some of that will come with time but some of it is that I need her more in front of my leg in the canter. I can then look to my tool box and pull out some different exercises...maybe some quick transitions and maybe some rein back to canter to work both on the reaction to the leg and the tilting under of the pelvis.
So, I encourage you to take a look at your own riding. Are you missing the forest for the trees? Try to get a video of you riding your horse and evaluate it from a place of acceptance and non judgement. Analyze what you like and what you think could be improved. Then come up with a plan, keeping the entire picture in mind.
This blog will be all about personal growth. I will discuss different topics and issues, some relating to horses and some not. Feel free to comment!