Picture this: a stunning horse and rider pair moving in harmony. Clearly, the horse cost more than a year’s salary, moves like a dream, and is trained impeccably. This horse makes you sit up and pay attention, yes, drool a bit, and think a bit wistfully,
“what would it be like to ride a horse like THAT?”
And off we go into fantasies of ourselves floating around the ring on this gorgeous horse, doing everything effortlessly. Of course, the rider on top has (usually) earned this horse. She’s in shape, she knows what she’s doing, and although she makes it look easy, guess what? It’s not. Sitting that big, expressive trot with ease and flair? Ha! Most of us would bounce right off. Going from extended canter to collected canter with invisible aids and then into a canter pirouette, all while remaining in beautiful balance, no tugging, no grimacing or grunting, no leaning forward/backwards/sidewards? Brava, rider! I’m impressed. I know how hard this stuff is, because I’m just beginning to learn it.
It’s tempting to think, “if I only had THAT horse, I could ride that elegantly, effortlessly, effectively!”
While it certainly is very true that some horses are much easier to ride than others (no kidding!), all horses require an educated rider to bring out their best. In our second year together, I have finally caught up to Far Above Par (“Finn) and we showed Fourth Level earlier this season. In a few weeks, we’re going to take a step of faith and go for Prix St. Georges, something new for both of us! Plus a new and updated Freestyle. Yes, yes, two new things at a show (stress meter edging toward red now). I’m crazy, but as my husband tells me, I’m never happy unless I’m pushing myself.
Meanwhile, I appreciate deeply the opportunity I have to learn from my patient, humorous, educated schoolmaster pony. We’re growing together and having fun!
If it’s not fun, why are we doing this? If you’re not having fun: change the equation.
Finn makes me laugh. When I see that BIG FANCY HORSE floating across the diagonal in six strides (and it takes us 14 strides), and all of us gasp in amazement, I’ll just think to myself: I have the perfect pony for ME. And then I’ll go out and see if we can get just a little more elegance and reach into our trot extension, a little more jump in our canter, and a whole lot more sit in our canter pirouette. Working on it, working on it…