Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

I’ve been thinking about ancillary skills and how they affect riding.

In Thursday’s post, Cur Tales talked about music [Talent]. Such pursuits have been on my mind latently. At the Alabama Phoenix Festival [FF: Push, Ghost, Yeller], I met the artist who draws The Devil’s Panties and discovered the world of webcomics. Now I want to draw my own. Unfortunately, my artistic ability ties with my musical talent for Things Not To Attempt In Public. Tuesday’s illuminated initial [Progress] is a direct result of attending artist panels at APF.

E261 Pump Panel

Part of becoming an adult is accepting what you are good at and what you should pay other folks to do for you. At the fire department, well-intentioned gentlemen insist that if I practice enough, I will grasp pump operations. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. I recall standing in front of our old Engine 261 and listening to the Chief explain how the terribly simple front-mounted pumper worked. I could feel – really feel – the information draining out of my brain as he spoke. Ironically, if you gave me a book on pumps and tested me on the contents, I’d get a 98% and be pissed that I missed two. Yet still be unable to operate one in the field.

Music would help with riding. Mechanical aptitude, not as much. So what am I good at? I’m great on a deadline. I’m clever. I’m good with my hands.

Grace under pressure helps in jump-offs and at shows in general. More than one instructor has been stunned at how much better I ride in shows than at home. The downside is that I stink at the day-to-day diligence that builds solid progress. Clever is good for building LEGO models and solving crossword puzzles, but not for riding. Early on, I had a riding teacher tell me that I had a fine mind, “Now stop using it.” Good hands are the hallmark of good riding. I’m good at most handicrafts: weaving, crochet, book arts, and so on. This translates well to groundwork & massage. Not so well to how I hold the reins. Perhaps because the rein hand is static in relation to the mouth & the finger motion is subtle, both of which are so far out of my wheelhouse as to be off the boat.

What are you good at & how does it help your riding or other hobbies?

Comments on: "What’s In Your Wheelhouse?" (4)

  1. Has your swimming helped? When I took swim lessons my swim instructor was stunned at how well I followed her directions (I think I have mentioned this before). She had never had a student hear what she said and consistently implement on the first go. 40 years of riding lessons will do that to a brain. But, swimming properly is all about how you place and use your body. I have always thought that yoga would help, too. Not so much for reasons of increased flexibility, but because yoga is training your body to be responsive. I think that translates into more fluidity as a rider. No practical data on that one, though.

    • Yes, swimming, yoga, karate, tai chi. Any body management exercise would help our recalcitrant parts behave in the saddle. Haven’t been in the pool much. I blame the mare.

  2. Update. Saturday AM. Mathilda lay down last night. Or so we assume from the muddy patch on her side. Glad she could & relieved beyond measure that we did not witness.

  3. I have good balance. I grew up skiing and one of the tools we used to stay in shape off-season back in the early 60’s was a Bongo Board. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balance_board Believe it or not, it was an amazing tool for developing balance and confidence. I got to the point where I could do handstands and all kinds of crazy tricks, all based on balance and a keen sense of staying with the movement beneath your feet (or hands). Given that I ride a bit of a bottle rocket, good balance is important. I find I can usually roll with the goofy spooks and I credit the Bongo board for my keen sense of balance.

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