March 3rd through 13th….Survival of the fittest!!

The last 10 days have been a veritable whirlwind. Two 3*CDIs, the World Dressage Masters 5* CDI, two Steffen Peters clinics and Steffen warmed me up for 3 of my classes and schooled me in between….I should have rocked the small tour world…right? WRONG!! On the upside, it really brought home the issues that need to be focused on. This was the first time Steffen had seen us in a show environment. It is safe to say that I won the warm-up at least twice but for some reason when the words “A enter, X halt salute, proceed collected trot” went through my head things altered ever so slightly, not to our benefit.

It turns out that there are many advantages to “Steffen Fest”. I rode my BEST PIROUETTES ever in every test, wow does he know how to prepare them coming into a test. Some of my best trot half passes and Cadenza’s carriage throughout each and every test got better and better.

The downside..My focus was so intense going into the Intermediare 1 at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby that I totally blanked on the canter tour. I was also the last of 44 rides, and the judges also blanked..Oops! Also, it turns out (big surprise here) that CDIs are not the ideal place to work on some fundamental issues. The consequence of me being determined to keep an uphill carriage during my tests were many mistakes. Who knew my horse could complete so many movements whilst doing one-tempis behind? The judges were about as appreciative of it as I, so we suffered score-wise (DUH!!).

So, CDIs and scores we are far from proud of are behind us, but the lessons I have learned will be implemented daily for some time to come.

The big message…SIMPLIFY. It is so easy to make things too complicated. I think the way that my thought process had to change can be summed up in a brief conversation I had with my husband immediately after one of my lessons.
Ken: “so what was the biggest lesson you got out of that session?”
Ilse: “I make things too complicated. Everything has to be less complicated”
Ken: “See!!! Already you are complicating things…It has to be word only”
Ilse: “Um, yeah. You are right” (words that Ken only gets to hear from me maybe once every year!!)

So after Steffen and Ken both threw my PHD (which I haven’t used in years) at me a few times I got it. Steffen even suggested that I “should try to be as stupid as him” what can you say to that??? I chose a smile and silence…until he lost half the clinic money and then found it the next day exactly where he had put it…that sort of stupidity I can emulate, no problem!!

Training insights to follow.

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