Anyone reading this blog knows that I had an issue with my previous instructor J but I have to admit that I've had a lot of personal doubt about if leaving her was the right decision. I was taught from a young age that instructors are always right and who am I, an intro level rider, to question such an accomplished rider and her methods. She had brought a few students up the levels too and that made me feel even more doubtful about leaving her.
Let me just say that after one lesson with my new trainer, L, I no longer doubt my choice.
In my lesson on Sunday it was like she was handing me puzzle pieces and with each one Katai improved in such a big way that it was like I was riding a different horse at the end of the lesson than the beginning.
J always used to get both Katai and I worked up and both of us would get tense. After I decided to leave I noticed that every horse she works with and instructs turns into a fire breathing dragon in lessons because of the tension. This lesson with L was more like taking a yoga class. She was calm and still and other than reminders to me she stayed pretty quiet unless I was at a moment where I could take something in. She gave us both plenty of breaks and was just so reassuring that I never felt like anything was hard.
After working on trot in both directions she explained a bit more about her methods. She believes in praising the good and ignoring the bad. She said, "this will be hard for her, she'll want to break to a walk or get fussy but she's just trying to find the right answer. Just get her back into a trot or ignore the fussiness but don't punish her or make a big deal out of it."
I could have hugged her.
Then, at the end of the lesson (after we got to work on canter!) she told me that this would just take time. That I need to work on what she gave me for about 4-6 weeks to build Katai's strength and then we can start working on fun stuff!!
I could have hugged her again :)