A story usually doesn’t write itself in a day. Most people don’t learn how to play an instrument in a week. And even fewer have the discipline and motivation to keep at it for more than a month. Horses and learning to communicate with them is an art form that can transpire over years if not decades, if not a lifetime. And even then you might not master it. Yet many have the expectations that it will quickly and with relative ease.
In an era of instant gratification, it is very difficult to allow ourselves, and our horses the time to figure things out. And it’s even harder not to compare our progress to that of others. Because hey, it’s a competition right? But the competition is rightfully with ourselves. To make ourselves better by the end of the ride than we were at the beginning. To cherish the little wins, like getting both canter leads on a young horse (woohoo!!!), or to finally feel get over that ditch that you’ve been having nightmares about.
When we push too far, too fast that’s when things normally fall apart. Now, those things might not be evident right away but as the fences get bigger, or the movements get harder, it is that much easier to see the holes in the training. And at this point, you’ll have to back track to the basics to fill the holes.
It is so hard to get knocked down. To realize that there is so many missing parts to your own training. But it is what you do to overcome it, to grow, that will set you apart from the rest. Now, there will always be another lesson, something that wasn’t thought of, or a different perspective that sheds some light on issues you’ve been having. Because horses like to keep us humble.
So next time you find yourself getting caught up in the rat race to the upper levels, remember to slow down and enjoy the ride.