My day started with an email from my friend P-Nut in New Zealand wishing me the best of luck and letting me know she was supporting me 100%, that was followed by an ever supportive facebook post from Patricia at Ecogold (Patricia is the one who has urged me to keep up with my blogs and promised me people actually do read them!) and several phone calls, texts and responses to yesterdays blog. It is a really great feeling to have everyone from close friends and family to people I have not yet met connecting in some way to the little stories I have to tell. So thank you to everyone for sticking by me even when things are not so hot!
On to today's session....
Today started with a meeting with the USOC. The USOC( United States Olympic Committee) provides Olympic sports with a sports psychologist, a strength and conditioning coach and a nutritionist. Eventers have not really taken advantage of this, but with the theme of trying to modernize our sport the USOC's goals to make us more well rounded athletes fits hand and glove with these training sessions. So my morning started with a chat with the sports psych. ironic after yesterdays mental struggles!
The first thing we discussed was that I tend to over analyze in the dressage arena and lose my perspective on my priority. Sean and I made a plan to find a "technical neutral zone" basically when I feel my mind starting to go in an unproductive way on the flat I change my focus to something technical that I can rely on. For me this is sinking down in my heels, shoulder blades down and back, heavy elbows and look around the ring ( not over focus on my horses head!).. Then once I have achieved a technical neutral to focus on something in the future about to happen like a movement or the goal I am working toward.. for example if the trot is feeling "not right" focus on the trot I need for a canter transition. This plan I feel will work really well to keep me positive and forward thinking. The other thing that Sean said that kept repeating in my head was "to be aggressive you must be relaxed" I used that all day on my horses anytime one got tense or difficult I thought relax first then my timing was much better.
When going into my lesson today I felt like I had much more of a plan. I had watched the videos from yesterday so I knew what Mark was after and I had a good sports psych. chat so had a bit of a mental game ready for action if things got complicated. The beginning of the lesson went well we started in a great place and got right to work ( not one comment on stiff arms or bad hands YES!) toward the end of the lesson we got into a bit of a ... beating my head against a wall.. moment. The Captain was trying to get me to collect the canter but the way he was asking me to do it was not making sense in my head and certainly not in the french princess's (tate). I eventually stopped and pretty much said "I don't understand what your asking me to do" to which he responded " I know you can do this" to which I said " I know I can do it as long as I know what I am supposed to be doing".. here was a moment that got a little uncomfortable but sometimes this feeling leads to great things which today it did....
I had a discussion earlier in the day with David trying to figure out a way to communicate better and understand things quicker with Mark. He basically said you have to figure out a common vocabulary so that when you get to the ring at Kentucky you guys are not talking a different language. One of the hard things about these sessions is that you have only a few days to develop a relationship with the person you will be counting on to help you at some of the most important competitions in your life. So today The Captain and I had a bit of a communication block but we worked through it. After talking for a second about the theory behind what Mark wanted me to do I applied some of my own education on a way to make it easier for a resistant horse to collect. Bingo I went haunches in when Mark wanted me to collect this made sense to Tate, Mark said " That's it, you got it" then I explained what I was doing to "get it" and he applied his theory to why the haunches in was helping and the steps that needed to come next to get the "tool" of collecting more true in days to come. Huge learning moment not only in collecting the canter but communicating with the captain!
So I feel on day two I have a plan...I have some mental games to work on to help keep my focus well directed, I am trying to lay a communication foundation between the Captain and I so I can take full advantage of all the knowledge he has to offer, and my nutritionist says i need a multi-vitamin!
Jumping tomorrow... I ll try and get some pictures ... thanks again for the support!