Yes I did. She was right there at my side for 2 lessons per week or whatever it was at the time.
And herein lies the problem with many lower level, starting out coaches, working with many lower level riders. I will of course never know what she was really thinking, but if I were to guess, I would say it was something along the lines of..."Curmudgeon read a book, she thinks she is doing what she is supposed to be doing... I will stay out of it and let her continue on her merry way".
I am sure if I had said at that time - "hey, let's try a horse communicator" - answer would have been...great idea. "Bitless bridle?" Sounds like a plan. "New saddle?" great. "Horse and Rider Pilates pole dancing?" that should help. "Chiro, massage, and flaming marshmallows?" let me get the matches for you. "Stuffing jalapeno peppers up horse's butt?" Why not. Whatever you want to try, my dear student, let's give it a go. If it will keep you feeling engaged, intelligent, and like pulling out your pen to write that cheque - I think it is a marvelous idea.
|You can google just about any phrase and find a picture to go with it. The internet never ceases to amaze me .|
(The other alternative is that she had no idea that things were amiss, and really didn't realize that we were in the process of creating a Faberge egg of a horse that would eventually become very confused and offended when the time came to put the aids ON. I will give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that this was not the case).
I know Dr. Phil does not usually bring up the topic of dressage on his talk show. Actually, I even searched his website just now to be sure, seeing as a topic about an insane wife spending all of the family's disposable income on buying and training a dressage horse wouldn't be totally out of the question as a subject for a show...("WHAT were you THINKING!").
But if Dr. Phil did decide to broach the subject of why it is so many adult amateur dressage students are spending so much time and money on truly mediocre coaching, even when they live in areas with lots of good instructors... he might say the reason is "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy".
That is, for a great percentage of adult ams out there - if they feel useless because they can't accomplish any of the things the coach is suggesting... it is only a matter of time before they find a coach that likes whatever the hell it is they ARE doing, making themselves temporarily happy. Until some life altering event occurs to open their eyes to the sad state of reality - like seeing a video of some jiggling slouchy rider flopping around on her horse and realizing with horror exactly who that person is.
A coach like Ritenau knows that if you aren't happy - ain't nobody going to be happy, because you are likely going to pack your bags and go elsewhere. To be temporarily happy, then unhappy with some other coach and start the cycle all over again. When you are just starting out with only a few students, you don't want to do anything which might scare any of them away, you just can't afford it. Really, an adult amateur with a 3 year old who can get on, ride around and execute circles and whatnot without being terrified or close to death is a relatively good catch, in the grand scheme of things. Beggars can't be choosers.
So I am sure when she watched us go around creating an overall pretty picture 95% of the time, save for a few herky-jerky transitions and moments of unsteady contact, she told herself that things were just fine. Happy horse, happy rider, no resistance on anyone's part. Looking good.
You of course recognize my situation, and know at least 10 people who are in it, or have read about them on a bulletin board, since it is so incredibly common. Here I was, obsessively going to clinics, reading, critiquing total strangers and coming up with ways to avoid their fate - while not realizing at all that I was comfortably settled into exactly the sort of enabling relationship that would ensure I was right there with them, mastering the 20 metre circle forever.
If I had had the time, I would have put the cherry on top, I am sure, and gone onto UDBB to tell everyone about my fabulous new mare, then proceeded to explain to everyone how lightness, harmony and love were going to take us up the levels, just as the masters had promised.
(And yes, to answer your question...fast forward 10 years down the road to today... when you see my post titled "Help! I need the perfect stallion to breed my stuck at 1st level mare to..." OF COURSE this has been my plan all along, silly!)