Friday, 15 May 2015

Day 132, 133 and 134: Doing vs teaching, watching warm ups at Windsor and final preps for next event

Day 132: Tuesday

You know this saying - those who can, do and those who can’t do, teach? I wonder who came up with this first and how did that thought occur to them? Were they a frustrated underachiever taught by a cynical teacher who liked to put them down? Or perhaps they were a talented but impatient pupil wanting to climb faster and higher before their teacher thought they were ready?
It really makes me wonder because in riding, many a time, the doing is the easier part. Horses learn so quickly, so genuinely. It’s the training of the human component that’s the difficult bit!
Even more so, the riding skills, intricate and complex as they might be, are yet easier to teach than the mental side to riding is.

When I dissect some movements in order to understand what I am doing and then try to devise a way to teach it to a particular rider, I often hit a brick wall. I ride something over and over again and I think, how do I teach this to someone who have never experienced anything remotely similar? Anything they might be able to relate the feel to?

You can watch many things. You can observe riders and horses. But to see, to truly see what you are watching - it’s not easy. Maybe it’s not possible to both do and see to the same top standard? Maybe if all your senses are focused on seeing, the parts of your brain responsible for doing no longer develop as well?

I don’t know. But I think it’s easier to ride well than to teach well. The former only requires you to master yourself, the latter asks you to not only master yourself but to empower the student to master themselves.

Day 133: Wednesday
Windsor Horse Show 2015

On subject of observation, today I was doing mainly that by planting myself in between the warm up arenas and the main show-jumping and dressage arena during the first day of Windsor Horse Show. One of the main reasons this show is firmly on my favourites list is exactly because it is possible to watch pretty much every single rider working the horses in before the round or a test. There is also plenty of going on as far as showing goes and although I have zero interest in showing itself, I do like to watch the working hunter classes and see what judges like about each horse, how they go and behave and what’s the winner’s conformation is like. 

In the jumping warm up, I like to observe what type of horse is being ridden and how and then compare those observations to their performance in the class. I like to watch as if I rode each horse myself and think how each issue would ride and feel. Like this, you can “ride” hundreds of horses in one day and learn a lot about different ways of dealing with different issues. 
Similarly in the dressage, I like to see how riders cope with their horses’ stage freight - many issues in dressage is due to lost concentration and relaxation. Some horses warm up beautifully and foot perfect just to make simple mistakes in the test a few minutes later. It’s a great mental game, dressage, and so again watching different techniques and strategies can be very educational. 

I wish there were more shows nearby with this sort of set up and so many classes and disciplines within one show ground.

Windsor Horse Show 2015: checking some new tack out, little champagne sip and lunch in the sun :) 
Day 134: Thursday

Awesome day today getting final preparations in place with Shabby and Meerhead before their run at Aston Le Walls on Sunday. Shabby did the best test-test we have ever done with him, if only he could retain his calm during the event so he can do himself justice! His trot work is becoming so much better, when we started back in December he had this pony trot going nowhere unless he could go hundred miles per hour, he now has so much more length to the stride when he is focused and relaxed. 

Merehead is learning basic lateral work - he is a very clever boy :) 

I also had a pleasure to meet Emma's new ex-racing project who is very exciting indeed, tortured an ex-jockey into a dressage seat and worked a young rider rather hard but everybody is so much pleasure to teach. Great day :) 

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