A gift in not knowing
Previously in my riding career I have never received a lot of training or teaching from skilled riders or trainers. Both because I never really found anyone that really deeply inspired me, but also because I far down the road haven’t had my own horse that I was able to ride. Without a horse who is completely your own it can be difficult to make the final decisions on how the training should proceed or be introduced and by whom. Also when I finally got my own horse back in 2013 I had a little “barrage” as my horse was almost untouched and unable to be ridden. This way there has been multiple things that have kept me from a more in depth education on horseback. Either because of their age, due to injury or from lack of ownership. The result from this have been (and still is) that I haven’t had a lot of people give me theoretical knowledge on riding nor correct my mistakes as I rode.
At first glance that doesn’t really sound good, but actually that is one of the things that I am most thankful for today. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to evolve by myself and to figure things out on my own. I am thankful that I have gotten the opportunity to get to know my body and experiment with how my horse responded on my movement, position etc. I was never really aware of this before, but now I am starting to see that “being left alone” on my journey has meant for me that I am extremely open to experiment, feel and observe. I am not pre-assumptioned or caught up in theory as I ride or train…
Since I am not always a hundred procent sure that what I do is in theory the right thing neither do I try to deny it when I do wrong. I accept that “okay, that didn’t work” and then I simply try something different instead. I change my approach, my movement or my course of action until I figure out a usable solution. This has provided me a very relaxed attitude in riding and a lot of will and joy in trying out new things that neither me nor my horse have ever tried before. Of course I do not jump straight into trying to perform a passage or a piaff as neither me nor my horse is prepared for that, but side- movements, transitions, pirouettes etc. are slowly making their way into the regular program.
Generally what I see as I meet new people and their horses is that they have something they really want to learn or try with their horse. It could be a thing such as performing a shoulder-in or a haunches-in on horseback. Yet they haven’t ever tried it because they did not know the exact details and theories behind it. Therefore they decided to stay away completely from the subject rather than just giving it a try and see what happened. Obviously nothing bad will happen from staying away, but the way I see it, failing is part of the process too. If we never dare to take chances or dare to risk failure, then how much do we in reality learn? I believe that learning to handle failure is a great life lesson in all aspects – whether it be with horses, relationships, cooking etc. We learn from our failures, but if we always make sure to have someone carry us on a golden plate through the whole thing, it will too keep us from learning to accept that things doesn’t always succeed in the first attempt.
When I first got my own horse in 2013 I had only ridden adult horses who had many years of experience with riding. I had never started a young and untouched horse or even helped anyone else doing so. Yet the process didn’t scare me and I was looking so much forward to work my way through it with my new partner. Honestly it never even crossed my mind that I might not be able to figure it out or succeed with the project. I had so much faith in the whole thing even from the beginning. As things turned out I might make some mistakes in the process, but compared to the amount of things that worked beyond expectation, it was nothing to mention. Rather than panic or do nothing I just took things nice and slowly as I shared my ideas with my young horse. I have become much better since then and I handle things much different now compared to just 4 years ago, but once again… That is part of the process and a part of learning as well as developing.
(riding skirt from http://klesarven.no)
Obviously it is important to know when you have met something too big or difficult for you to handle alone and then it is always important and a good idea to seek a professional who can help. Often however that is not the case – these people have not met anything too big or too difficult. Instead what I see is that people keep themselves away from all sorts of “innocent” things for the simple reason that they are afraid of trying anything out on their own. They are afraid of failing or not doing perfect. “But what if I fail?” Yes – then what? Try again!
When we let go of the enormous pressure of needing to succeed and do perfect all the time, that is when our riding or training becomes play because we are simply giving things a try without the fear of failure… We stop becoming so afraid of failing because we know that we are allowed to try once more. We are allowed to fail because that is what makes us learn and grow.