Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lessons: The Voice inside my Head

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.

Last year, the bridge crossing seldom went smoothly. The pitter-patter of sheep hooves always excites the dog.

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.

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