Last Spring, Karla, Madison's dressage and jumping trainer had all the riders in her barn go out for dinner. As we sat around the table enjoying each other's company, the riders, of which Madison is the youngest, were asked to share their specific goals for the year and long range in regards to riding. Madison shared that she wanted to be the best: to have her name known in the dressage/jumping world and to win national titles, international titles and the Olympics.
This kid has more gumption that Forrest! She is determined and dedicated. Good thing after yesterday's lesson. It was a wonderful day to ride outside in the 70 degree temps and early fall sun. Her lesson got off on the wrong foot (literally) the moment she and Ka Ching began to canter. Karla asked her to canter some small 15 meter circles and Madison's were closer to 20 meters. She was even on the wrong lead one time, failed to notice it, and was posting on the wrong diagonal. All of these errors are rookie mistakes and Karla demands, Demands, DEMANDS, 110% all the time.
Her ride degenerated downhill from the opening warm ups and bending lines to the jumping. Both Ka Ching and Madison are right-handed/dominate, and both struggle to go left as easily as right. Neither of them could get a correct lead coming into a jump from the right, bending sharply and clearing the jump and landing on the left lead. Karla was yelling and I mean yelling at Madison to get it right.
Neither the horse nor Madison quit. They rode and sweat buckets until Karla could see that Madison was trying in earnest to do it as well as she could. Her eyes were full of tears at the end of the ride, yet she shook it off, and committed herself to do better on Wednesday for her next lesson.
Honestly I have to admit that it wasn't hard for me to watch Madison get a tongue lashing from Karla. Oddly, Madison has always succeeded in life at whatever she desires with very little effort. Things come naturally for her.......until yesterday. I trust Karla enough to know that she wasn't just yelling at Madison for kicks and giggles, but because she KNOWS the kid can and has done better. Jumping is dangerous and there is no room for sloppiness. At the end of the lesson, after the horse was bathed and loaded in the trailer, Madison went to Karla and thanked her. Karla hugged and kissed her and told her she expects her to work her butt off to reach her goals and she did it because she cares. Together, Karla can help her reach for the stars and in return she expects Madison to give her heart and soul to her riding and make every ride count.
Karla has put in her time in the trenches. She has her Gold medal for dressage and her daughter who's 22 just won the Canadian nationals. Her goal is to get to the PanAm games, World Equestrian Games and eventually, the Olympics! Madison wants to achieve along those lines too. Marc and I will do all we can to help her achieve her dreams and yesterday was just the first among many future tongue lashings.
I was proud of my kid and how she held it together, kept trying and is not letting it define her. From this crappy ride, I am sure she learned more lessons about life than the thousands of good rides she has had. Hopefully, fingers and toes crossed, tomorrows lesson will be less brutal. Either way, she is learning about perseverance, drive, determination and humility. All lessons I am sure will aid her in blossoming life.