31. Happy, happy, happy, happy.

Blog 31 – “Happy, happy, happy, happy”

A couple of days after the course I received a phone call from P.K. which came as a shock because correspondence between he and his students usually went via the course hosts as opposed to being direct.  I was ill prepared for the call, still unsure how I felt about the session or how to best help Filly.  Amongst others things he wanted to tell me that some auditors were unhappy with Filly’s sessions and to confirm that I understood that Effet d’Ensemble was my homework.  I replied that I would think about it and he reaffirmed that this was the best and only way forward before terminating the phone call.

A month or so later I was confident that Filly was well and I was keen to continue my training with P.K. However I did not want to turn up at the following session pretending that I had used Effet d’Ensemble between times and neither did I want to create discomfort for P.K. or anyone else by publicly announcing that I had gone against his express instruction.

Verity and I had already decided to watch P.K. teaching some of his French students and travelled there together, we were warmly welcomed by the French group and enjoyed the experience immensely.  I knew that it was unlikely that there would be an opportunity to chat one-to-one with P.K. while he was busy teaching so I wrote a letter outlining what I had discovered about Filly’s SI, how I had gone about resolving it, that I did not want to deceive him about what I had done and how much I was looking forward to continuing my training with him.  Having not had the chance to speak with him privately I gave him the letter at the end of the course but did not know whether he had read it until we happened to bump in to him at the airport on our ways home.  “I read your letter” he told me, “I understand.”

Verity and I discussed this response at length, P.K. was an enigma to us but I decided to take what he had said at face value and turned up at the next course with Filly in good form, the sessions went well and it was not mentioned again - directly.

Filly and I taking our ridden exam
Filly and I were the first to take and pass the Ridden Section of his examination system in the UK.  This comprises lunging and in-hand flexions and lateral work and ridden flexions and lateral work, transitions etc. and there is a clear criteria regarding what must be included and each student makes up their own program which is performed to music.  P.K. has a great appreciation for and understanding of classical music, I am an ignoramus and do not.  I decided that if I was going to do this section congruently then it would be to music that demonstrated the depth of feeling and emotion I have for Filly and which said something about the two of us.  I included the music of Etta James, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Cyndi Lauper, and John Legend, which was deliberately highly emotive and P.K. told us he had a tear in his eye watching.  I also included Pharrell Williams “Happy” (perfect for Filly’s trot) and finished with and Will i Am’s “Bang Bang” (For over 18’s this in the one I used) cantering down the centre line, our final halt @ 2.02.  This was bit risky but ultimately successful and a very enjoyable time was had by all – especially Filly.

In spite of this experience and going on to pass other examinations things were never really the same for me again. 

In 2014 I was been given a troubled horse called “Lola” (more to follow), Lola is now benefiting from some of P.K’s techniques but while I was training with him she was neither ready or able to cope with the environment and I wanted to protect her from it.

Numerous tensions, some of my creation, existed between me and the course hosts regarding the arena surface, which I believed to be unsuitable for the level of work now required, and the atmosphere on courses was far from warm and welcoming.

P.K. seemed devilishly keen that his students suffer and “learn” the hard way, which I could once take in good humour but was increasingly sensitive to this and to subtle incongruencies and and after much consideration I decided to leave The School Légèreté, this has proven to be the best course of action for me, my horses and my business.

I am grateful to numerous clients who helped support me emotionally while I was agonising over this decision, I am privileged to have so many special people in my life.

"Come on People!" published 25th May.

For those searching online for more “instructional” resources than offered in these blogs please make use of my video downloads www.ashenec.co.uk

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