A fresh perspective: 8 different viewpoints to clarify your riding goals.

As a horse crazy girl, I remember cresting one of the Caledon hills on a trail ride at Teen Ranch. The view, for this 10 year old from the GTA, where the only hills are suburban “berms”, was a completely new perspective.

A new year inspires new riding goals. If you feel your riding’s a little stuck, consider these 8 different perspectives.

  1. Articles. Read stuff by experts and researchers in  various “horse fields”- saddle fitting, therapeutic farriery, dentistry.
  2. A committee volunteer. What 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!
  3. An outsider. That non-horse person who supports you as your pit crew at the shows, or accompanies you to the barn can have some valuable 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 ?” )
  4. A coach or clinician.  As a coach, I act like a mirror to reflect the aids and timing of a rider, some unintended. 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.
  5. A 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.
  6. A different discipline. Maneuvering through obstacles, trying a dressage pattern or jumping, or even spending some time in a different saddle – builds new muscles and insights.
  7. 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.
  8. The greater WHY. My “mountain top” view prompted the 10 yr. old me to marvel, “Wow – this must be what God  sees!” . Muting the voices from our screens o rthe barn aisle opinions of others for a bit, may awaken the perspective that life is more than horse shows.   Why and I doing this? How can my riding fit into my desire to make a difference and  be part of a bigger story than just my own?