After riding my first dressage test years ago, my instructor approached me and demanded, "Did you fail geometry in high school?"
Pausing for only a second, she continued, "You are supposed to ride 20 meter circles, not 10 meter circles."
My husband, a teacher, stared from a distance. "That was harsh," he later said.
When riding dressage tests after that, I heard that voice, and made sure my circles were 20 meters.
I thought of that moment this weekend when I was at sheepdog herding camp.
"Don't you dare miss those panels," my instructor said as I was directing Mickey, the Border collie, to drive the sheep through the gates. "Fight for every point."
We didn't miss a panel after that, and my handling improved as days went by.
A good instructor knows a student's capabilities and pushes them to achieve.
Below is a photo of the trial course where we were practicing this weekend.
Two years ago, I wasn't ready to try the creek crossing.
This year, I directed the dog from the other side of the creek. I did the creek crossing, and the Maltese cross (the snow fence contraption).
And I didn't dare miss those panels.