A few weeks ago my lesson included some work over cavaletti. Penny fell out instead of going over them. She just made a quick step to the side and totally avoided the poles. Not just once, but repeatedly. After several attempts to jump those poles, all unsuccessful, Joe exclaimed, “Why did you not go over the cavaletti?!!!”
“Well, I thought she was going to go over, it was only at the last minute that she changed her mind”, I said back because truthfully this was what happened.
“You thought” Joe said.
This is when he muttered that thing in German that I didn’t understand. I don’t think it meant “Oh, ok, of course, no problem, you were mistaken, happens all the time.”
He followed up with “OK, Woah.” He reminded me I need to ride every stride, never assume where she is going to go, make her go where I decide. I knew that. Still, I was failing miserably in having any authority over her whatsoever. She was taking me for a ride – again.
When Joe was leaving that day he turned and said, “Leave the cavaletti up”. I knew what that meant.
I rode the next day. Penny was about to refuse the cavaletti. I stopped her, backed her up, and we went over the cavaletti. After that, every time I asked, she went over them just fine. No more “thinking” how it’s going to go. I made it happen. Lesson learned. Sometimes failure is an opportunity for growth but failure it was just the same.