Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Monday, July 20, 2009

Under Pressure

When the official assessment process changed from prescribed task lists to free-form auditions I thought this was the best idea ever. No more drilling a task until you could capture a single flawless manever, completely dereft of life and soul. The auditions were an opportunity to evaluate savvy. I've long believed the execution of a task did not prove savvy. Rather when the savvy was there, the task was just a natural result. Now we had an assessment process that supported that idea.

A few snags in my groundwork (and a major snag in my riding) have kept me from feeling like I was ready to audition. I finally made the decision to tape my L3 On-Line audition and step outside my comfort zone. It's not the video taping that bothers me - I passed all but one task of my L2 via video assessment. But that was with a PNH instructor with whom I have a very good relationship. The idea of strangers assessing my very intimate relationship with my horse is unnerving to me.

I spent last week planning my audition. Not scripting it to the footfall, but sketching out my obstacles, reviewing the compulsories and matching the requirements to Cricket's particular skills. This past weekend I did a dry run in front of a stationary camera. I taped two sessions on Saturday and one session on Sunday.

Some things I have learned:
  • A leader needs a plan. I had a plan for the obstacles but I didn't have a clear idea of how the whole thing would flow.
  • Some things take longer than you think they do. Ten minutes is not very long. In fact it's almost the blink of an eye.
  • Test a level below where you're training. Initially I had some L4 elements in my audition plan. Those have been removed. The pressure of taping is no place to ask something of my mare that is not within her comfort zone.
  • I plan, Cricket laughs. Several times during my session I got the "why should I do that?" look from Cricket. My replies were often insufficient for my darling LBI/E (who was very introverted during taping).
  • If at first you don't succeed, revise your definition of success. What I envisioned as a good obstacle course was not, in fact, a good obstacle course. The flow I imagined was not very flowing. Instead of pushing Cricket to meet my idea of an audition, I have revised my vision of our audition to better suit what she can offer.
My biggest lesson from all of this: Simplicity is the best path. My audition won't knock anyone's socks off. It may not even be enough to pass L3. But it will have a sweet dun mare with ears pricked forward offering soft, willing movement and responding with a "sure, Mom, if that's what you want." And that's enough, at least for now.


Tina said...

I planned mine, too. I felt much more comfortable that way. Don't worry about not passing...I passed my online at L2++ with a nasty black mare with her ears back and her tail swishing. : ) I've been tempted to send in my freestyle, but am balking at the $50. I really want that blue string, though. more than I thought I would. Getting my red one fed the fire a little. Let us know how it goes, and give a link to your video if you go that route! I sent mine on VHS (because I was too cheap to pay to have it put on DVD) so I don't have mine. Maybe someday!


Lisa said...

Cricket's biggest issue is her head-tossing. Sometimes it's dominance, sometimes it's stress. I'm not too worried - I have seriously lowered my expectations. Cricket can nail all the compulsories it's just getting all that in 10 minutes of film! I'll definately post the final product.