Thanks to a Gifted Fund Grant for Adult Am­a­teurs from The Dres­sage Foun­da­tion (TDF), Ch­eryl Tobey of Ge­or­gia spent a week train­ing her horse, Heav­enly Kruise (“Chloe”) with Greta Wrigley.

Dressage Today - - Arena News -

What did it mean to me to be able to spend five con­sec­u­tive days with my trainer, de­voted to im­prov­ing my rid­ing abil­ity and knowl­edge? Ev­ery­thing! First, to have noth­ing else in­ter­fer­ing with our train­ing gave me the time and fo­cus I needed. No grand­chil­dren, no house or barn chores, no church re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, no GMO tasks, no ex­cuses. Get up in the morn­ing, get ready and ride. Then in the af­ter­noon, ride again. Build on the last ses­sion, de­velop a real sense of feel and see real progress tak­ing place. For once, I have con­fi­dence that even though I’m a 63-year-old woman with sev­eral phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions, I am ca­pa­ble of mov­ing for­ward.

If I could use three words to de­scribe what I learned that week, they would not be about the tech­ni­cal as­pects of dres­sage. Although tech­nique is im­por­tant and makes it all pos­si­ble, it is only use­ful be­cause of plan­ning, prepa­ra­tion and po­si­tion- ing. My “light-bulb mo­ments” in­cluded plan­ning or think­ing ahead so that I can be sub­tle in my move­ments; know­ing where I want to go and how I want to get there; po­si­tion­ing my body, not just a hand or a foot, but all of me, so that my plan­ning pays off. By the end of the week, im­prove­ment was cer­tainly there. I was more con­fi­dent, bet­ter pre­pared and went about each move­ment with more of a plan. My seat and po­si­tion had bet­ter qual­ity. Chloe was more re­spon­sive and we had a much bet­ter work­ing part­ner­ship. Since re­turn­ing home, im­prove­ment con­tin­ues. I wish I could say it has al­ways gone smoothly, but I can say that the rough patches have re­sulted in “high-wattage” bulbs light­ing up. Watch­ing videos of my rid­ing, I see such im­prove­ment in my po­si­tion. And when I get it right, Chloe re­sponds beau­ti­fully. Without this op­por­tu­nity from The Dres­sage Foun­da­tion and the Gifted Fund Grant, I know we would be strug­gling with some of the same old is­sues. We’ve moved on to new ones, and I’m happy to say the prob­lem-solv­ing is tak­ing much less time!

To read Ch­eryl’s full re­port, visit dres­sage­foun­da­

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