Monday, August 17, 2009

Questions to Ask Yourself

When I ride with a clinician, or even a regular trainer whom I haven't seen in awhile, they often ask questions designed to quickly give them a good idea of what they should do with me: What are you working on lately? What's your horse's biggest issue? What's are you trying to accomplish lately?

Since I spend so much time writing and thinking about riding, I usually have a pretty solid answer. Sometimes, though, the question catches me a little off-guard and I'm not sure how to concisely answer in a way that will best allow the teacher to help me and my horse.

In this post, I've compiled a list of questions designed to give a great deal of information in a fairly short answer. For me, it's a good way to give the most useful answer when a trainer asks a question, therefore producing the most useful teaching from them. It's also a very good way to probe your training/riding situation and get a deeper understanding of the status quo.

Here's my answers for Pandora.

What have you been working on lately?
Building up to our old levels of fitness since a short lameness, staying off the forehand, and sharpening her responses to aids. For myself, consistency in aids and correct leg position.

What is your horse's biggest weakness and strength?
Pandora's weakness: wants to be on the forehand a lot, therefore producing not-so-great dressage and a tendency to dive before fences.
Her strength is her fantastic attitude - she is always willing and ready to school dressage, try something new, or go tear up a XC course.

What is your biggest weakness and strength?
I most need to develop a consistent, correct position. Sometimes I have trouble waiting for the fence to come to me instead of jumping ahead, and I struggle with leg position in dressage work.
My biggest strength is my determination - I will always keep working towards my goals and through my fears, and scary fences won't get the best of me because if I point my horse at it, I plan to go over it.

What are your goals for the next few months?
I plan to bring Pandora back to her previous fitness levels. I will ride in a big clinic in mid-September, where I hope to learn a lot and keep up well with the other riders, and plan to take and pass my C-1 rating in October.

What are your goals for the next few years?
I plan to move up to Novice-level eventing this Spring and, assuming all goes well, Training either one or two years after. My ultimate goal is to complete a Training 3-day event during or before the summer of my college graduation.
This means we will be making a lot of progress in all three phases, especially dressage.

What would you like to learn to do?
I would really like to learn how to teach Pandora better dressage. I am sort of at my experience limit here, and I would like to be able to make sure all of the building blocks are in place and progress into First Level work.

What is your horse's most common resistance?
On the flat, leaning on the bit some but especially going crooked. While jumping, rushing at the base of the fence.

Anyone else have any good questions that you think are useful for making the rider think or giving a trainer insight? While you're at it, you should answer some or all of these questions for your own riding. Leave a comment, or if you would rather write a post about it, comment with the link and I will add it to the end of this post.


Leah Fry said...

My goal every time is to have a quiet, uneventful ride where we're both happy. May sound simple, but hey, I'm a simple kinda gal. That's all I want.

mugwump said...

You are a kid after my own heart. Anal, obsessive, drive, drive, drive!
My greatest weakness at this time is losing my previous level of horsemanship.
It goes downhill fast....

manymisadventures said...

Leah, I think it's a damn good goal. Half the time when I go to a show, my goals look something like: stay on the horse and in the ring. It lets me relax and enjoy what I'm there to do.

Mugs, tell me about it! I don't have nearly the depth of experience that you have, but when I'm swamped with schoolwork or something and I don't do much thinking/riding for awhile, it is amazing how quickly I lose the thought processes and abilities.

Related Posts with Thumbnails