Today we are releasing a new video from DTO trainer,(Click for Video) Laura Graves. I had the pleasure of riding with Laura this year so it was super exciting for me to watch her in a private training session she did for us with Verdades, with whom she is currently ranked number fifteen in the FEI World Individual Dressage Rankings.
She propelled me to ponder the question we all must ask ourselves, in what ever we do in life, which is…do we walk our talk? This doesn’t mean that we have to be perfect in the achievement of what we are striving for, it does mean that what we say publicly and the conversations we have within, should be in line with our exterior actions. Creating clear explanations, expectations and evaluation.
After riding with Laura and seeing her during her own very real training session with her partner, Diddy, I was incredibly excited to see that she asked herself the same questions during her own ride, at the FEI GP International level as she asked of me.
The q & a she prompted me to have with myself, which has stayed with me at the forefront of my mind, ever since and that you will see her demonstrate in this video, is, ”Are you getting the response you wanted? Is it immediate?”
These two single questions infuse themselves into so many aspects of the ride, that if I had to personally choose the single most important factor of developing yourself and your horse into being able to perform at a higher level, it would be the ability to always ask yourself these questions and answer with honesty.
When you put your leg on, depending on where and how, are you getting the exact response you intended immediately? Because waiting even a single second, is not good enough. You may not always get the exact response in the beginning, but did you get enough response to match what you were looking for?
When you ask your horse to flex right or flex left do they immediately respond or is it a tug of war to get them to finally relax in the jaw or bend in the neck?
When you give a half halt do they immediately respond or do you have to give 3 or 4 before they get it?
When you tuck your pelvis do they give you the reaction you’ve taught them to give?
So at the end of the day, one must fairly teach an aid and the desired response. One must be honest in evaluating if the response given matches the expectation. And one needs to be constantly striving to get the desired response immediately. Lastly, one must be honest in how they respond to these questions.
Laura teaches this. She does this. Do you?