As a horse crazy girl, I remember cresting one of the Caledon hills on a trail ride at Teen Ranch. The view was a fresh new perspective for this 10 year old from the GTA, where the only hills are suburban “berms”,
A new year inspires new riding goals. If you feel your riding’s a little stuck, consider a new perspective.
- Articles. Read the perspectives of experts and researchers in various “horse fields”- saddle fitting, equine behaviour, therapeutic farriery, dentistry.
- A committee volunteer. It’s an eye opener to join an executive or volunteer team. One never complains again after catching a glimpse of the work involved behind the scenes!
- An outsider. That non-horse person who supports you at the horse shows, or accompanies you to the barn can have some fresh observations – “Why do you do it that way?” That’s the way we’ve always done it… “Is it normal for… (a coach to yell that much, a bridle to cost that much ?” )
- A coach or clinician. As a riding coach, I act like a mirror to reflect the aids and timing of a rider, and the horse’s responses. If a rider’s stuck, I search for ways to rephrase a concept so it clicks. As a clinician, I may simply express the concepts of the participant’s coach – just in different words.
- A horse show judge. Read your rule book. You’ll find helpful adjectives and phrases to describe the standard to which the judge is comparing. After reading the scoring system, we realize it’s not that the judge didn’t like my horse, but rather she didn’t like the penalty 5, wrong lead or the horse’s head behind the vertical.
- A different riding discipline. Maneuvering through obstacles, trying a dressage pattern or jumping, or even spending some time in a different saddle – builds new muscles and insights.
- Your horse. What’s it like to be a horse? Does my horse understand me? Does he share my goals? Although we’ll never know for sure, there’s a wealth of research to give us a view into the equine mind.
- A greater WHY. Why and I doing this? Muting the voices from our screens or the opinions of others sharing the barn aisle may awaken the perspective that life is more than horse shows. Why do I ride? How can my riding fit into my life goals, even a desire to make a difference?
My “mountain top” view prompted the 10 yr. old me to marvel, “Wow – this must be what God sees!” On the back of a horse, I caught a perspective that I’m part of a bigger story than just my own.