Friday, 11 January 2013

Conscious Incompetence

Inspirational writings - which have been quoted in some form or other to me before, thanks C! :D

When you are frustrated and feeling like you’re riding worse than you used to, it’s often actually a sign of progress, that you are learning something new. You are not riding any worse than you have been, but your awareness has grown. The bad news is that you have always made these mistakes that you are now noticing and that are bothering you. The good news is that, whereas you never noticed them before, now you do, which enables you to fix them. You can only improve things that you are aware of. So, this frustration is actually a good thing, something to be happy and grateful about, because it marks the beginning of a new learning cycle.
When we are happy with our performance, it means that our awareness and our practical skills match each other. When our awareness has grown larger than our skill, we tend to be unhappy, because we feel incompetent. It’s the stage of conscious incompetence. We are aware of the mistakes we are making, but we can’t prevent them – yet. But even this unhappiness is a good thing, because it drives us to improve our skills, so that they match our awareness again. Then we are content for a short while… - until the cycle starts anew.
(Thomas Ritter)
I chose to see this as light at the end of the tunnel - now here's hoping I can keep it in mind next time I get frustrated at my hands/heels/legs swinging. Whatever catches my ire on any given day! ;-)

Apparently the above is built from a scale of competence:

Unconscious incompetence - doing stuff wrong and not knowing you're doing it wrong
Conscious incompetence - as Thomas Ritter writes
Conscious competence - consciously making the decision to do the right stuff
Unconscious competence - the holy grail of riding, doing the right stuff subconsciously, it just comes naturally

I think I generally waver between UI & CI depending on the day; how concentrated K & I are and whether there is someone watching us which ensures I (a) make more of an effort and (b) they can correct me when I get sloppy/neglectful *sniggers*

Now for some Kika News, we've had two wonderful days of work. Wednesday she got lunge din the side-reins and for the first time lunging since her lameness around Christmas she didn't act silly, bucking/plunging/generally throwing herself about the place. This may have had something to do with the 20-25minutes she spent on the walker while I sorted her stable to helping her get into a "work" mindset. Either way I was very proud of her behaviour and work ethic as we went through the paces, walk/trot/canter and stand (often a difficult one but getting better! :-D)

Yesterday I put on my big girl pants and decided to ride her without popping her on the walker or lunging before hopping up. Although I will admit that I may have cheated slightly and popped her on the walker when I was at the yard at lunch time to turn O out for L. *blush*
Anyway, there were two others riding in the arena with us (not the large main one, we were in a slightly smaller one), one of them asked if we'd mind her setting up some poles as she was bored of doing flatwork. No problem and her OH set up the poles on a similar cross to the one I used to lunge Kika last week - but he raised two of them on one side and then later made a cross pole & a mini-vertical. 
Kika and I warmed up in walk and trot, lots of circling, changing direction and a few serpentines when I could squeeze them in around the pole work & other riders. Everything was going really well so I asked for some canter, and no word of a lie, we had lovely balanced soft canter work - it felt great! I felt like we were really working together and I wasn't interrupting, annoying her and I was in control & sitting properly in the saddle - whereas I can sometimes feel jostled in canter work when we don't get it right.
in saying that though, it may have had something to do with the fact I have been riding in my GP and I particularly struggle with sitting the canter in the Dressage saddle. Shall find out this evening as I plan to switch back - watch this space I guess!

Plan for the weekend is to do some pole-work under saddle either Saturday or Sunday, depends on how busy the arenas are and what time I get there at. Other than that shall just be schooling flatwork and trying to get the better of my vices, hopefully I can get into the Main Arena with the wall of mirrors so that I can keep an eye on my positioning & diagonals when trotting, *shame-faced* I can't always tell off my own back!

Lastest Nancy news is that there was a delay with some paperwork so they hope to collect her tomorrow and that she'll arrive out here to us on Monday, but again this is not yet definite. I won't know for sure until they collect her and she is on her way!
Unfortunately there is snow forecast for us here this weekend - hopefully it won't interrupt travel plans in any way! Smelly snow! We've had a lovely mild winter so far, I was really hoping it would stay that way and that we'd just skip the snow, ice & freezing temps for this year and skip straight into spring! Sadly weather appears to have other ideas, temps have dropped from 7-10C last week/earlier this week to 0-3C the last two days or so! :(
I cannot wait for her to get here - nervous about the balancing act and working with a young horse again, but so looking forward to the challenge it at the same time! Here's hoping I can learn from the mistakes I made with Kika and not make them again, then again I am sure I will make many more new mistakes which i can then learn from!
Ah the beauty of horses - always more to learn! :-D

She saw the dentist for the first time on Tuesday and had some work done, mostly caps (baby teeth) and then she required a  bit more work on her molars. I think my aunt mentioned she snapped a pic of her being worked on, shall have to see if she can e-mail it to me. I'm going to have to rinse her mouth out before working when she gets here when she's stabled as her teeth (molars) are very close together and when eating forage (hay/haylege) all the time there could be a risk of her being unable to clear her mouth properly herself so she'll require some help. Not that she'll choke herself or have problems swallowing, but that remnants of food may remain between her teeth and that's why she'll need a hand rinsing out her mouth.
Yard Owner in Ireland has reassured that it's no big deal and we'll be able to keep on top of it and keep her healthy!
I felt kind of bad actually as she (YO) said that she's separated her from the main bunch and stabled her in preparation for when she gets here - I hope she'll adjust faster than Kika did to life out here. Although we now have access to winter turnout and they'll be out for 6 months from May 1st to November 1st - so hopefully she won't get into the depression poor Kika fell into in her first winter out here.

Right I think that's enough waffle from me, especially as I have been bad and have no pictures to share with you! *blush*
Shall see if I can get photo of Nancy at the dentist from my aunt and edit the post later to add it in!



  1. Very cool quote, something for all of us to think about.

    1. I knew you of all people would enjoy it - sure does strike a chord.
      Gives me hope and strengthens my resolve all in one fell swoop. :D


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