Coping with Change

The current world crisis (covid-19 virus) has forced almost everyone around the world into a mandatory break from busy life. Although my life has hardly changed at all, I have to admit that the pandemic has affected me, bringing more uncertainty and some level of worry about what life will be like in the future.

At first, I carried on as per normal with the horses. Lily was training to go to a Working Equitation competition, so I just carried on with what we were doing. This lasted for a whole week of lockdown! In the video below we were doing well. It was actually a great place to leave our training. Breaks, when the timing is done well, such as at a peak point, are highly productive.

The last riding session with Lily before a break.

After this session, I noticed that something had changed.

I took Lily into the arena to work on in-hand classical training and she seemed to have statue-itis (could hardly move her legs). I felt like I was forcing her to comply and there ended the joy in our training sessions.

I pondered this change in enthusiasm from my horse. I am mindful not to push onwards and create a backwards trend. Certainly the lockdown and having no outings to motivate my efforts is having some effect. But also we are going through a change in season too. Suddenly the weather went from warm and sunny to rain and wind. If I were a horse, I would probably be conserving my energy too. Lily is going into survival mode to cope with the next season, and it might be a while before she gets comfortable with the new temperature and weather outlook.

So, I said to myself – don’t be a greedy human! We can leave it there and come back to Lily’s training a bit later. I channeled some gratitude for all the work that she has put in to our sessions and the great progress that we have made since August. She is now having some well deserved time off.

Luckily, I have a few horses on hand that are still keen to participate. My geldings have been under lower expectations recently, and they are perfectly happy to continue training. Toby, the pony, is especially fun to train, with his super intelligence, but also his feisty attitude if you cannot motivate him in a way that pleases him. He brings my horsemanship skills up to par, as he tests me constantly.

I have picked an exercise to teach Toby from Working Equitation – a difficult one. This is the side pass over the pole. I love training in Winter because you have so much time until next season that you can be detailed and unhurried.

This video shows the first session that we have attempted riding the Side Pass over pole in quite a long time. We have upped our game in getting the balance and bend into the direction of travel more correct with plenty of ground work preparation over earlier weeks. Riding a Working Equitation course should look effortless if it is done well. There is much finesse and fine detail in making it look this way. A slow approach in small parts achieves more accuracy. You can see how Toby is figuring out his balance and stepping across the pole as we make each attempt. At the last attempt, he has achieved a nice couple of steps in balance, so we walk forward and leave it there for the day.