Usually by the end of March Los Angeles has seen the last of winter rain. So when I signed up for a show the first weekend in April the last thing on my mind was what the alternative plan would be if it rained. Hansen Dam does not have a covered arena and when it rains all the covered arenas in the area are packed. So when they forcasted a week of rain just before my show we had to be creative. I decided we should take a trip to Eastvale Equestrian Center about an hour and a half drive to ride with my mentor Susan Peacock. Janet, the horses owner, was excited about using her new truck and trailer and taking her young horse on some outings. So we packed up our things and headed to Eastvale.
The trip was easy and before long I was walking Figaro around the covered arena. Since he is only 5 anytime we go somewhere new there is a bit of anxiety. Susan coached me through several exercises to help Figaro focus and overcome his anxiety. When he started to anticipate she would change the exercise so that we were working on the same idea but on a different pattern. By the end of the lesson he was calm and relaxed. I was thrilled, in less than 45 minutes Susan had helped me transform a ball of stress into a wonderful ride. Plus adding several new tools to my tool box.
I discussed it with Janet and we decided to bring him back for a longer stay at the end of the week. Thursday morning we showed up with all Figaro's gear and feed and settled in for a few days of focused training. At the beginning of each ride it took a few minutes to get him focused and ready to work but each day we got farther along in our expectations. By Saturday I had a long list of exercises to help him focus and a great plan for our up coming show.
Even as a professional having lessons is important to keep you on track, and really in dressage we never stop learning. Videos of my lessons on Figaro are posted here:
Hope they can help you :)