Lessons, Theory Vs. Reality, Further Considerations

Adventures in Saddle Seat

On Monday, I wrote about my weeniness overcoming my ambition [Theory Vs. Reality]. On Tuesday, I wrote about the show being more fun than progress [Spontaneous Showing]. Joking and self-deprecation aside, it is a legitimate question. Should my saddle seat lessons at Stepping Stone Farm be challenging & exciting, or should lessons be reassuring, thereby saving c&e for my own, non-saddle-seat horses?

Option One
Take advantage of whatever opportunities Coach Courtney is kind enough to present.

The Exclamation Point Life
Be bold! Seize the day!! Be daring! YOLO! Challenge yourself! Progress starts where your comfort zone ends! Do! All! The! Things!

Knowledge is Never Lost
Learn as much as possible, always. Even if I never ride in a suit class, the new skills may help me with my hunter/jumper/dressage/eventing riding; may help me in ways I do not yet know; may be worth pursuing as interesting in their own right.

Option Two
When I’m in a dark place, one of the things written on the wall of my soul is, ‘There are only two horses I can ride, and one of them is dead.’ Previous Horse was the latter. Sam is the other. Embrace this. Enjoy that I feel comfortable on a horse.

Progress Now
Athletes don’t make progress by staying on the ragged edge at all times. If I am always at sea on a horse, I will never had the chance to consolidate what I know. Riding a horse who gives me confidence enables me tackle new things with other horses.

This is true of mental skills as much as physical skills. For now, use lessons as a time to rest, to regroup, to rebuild. Reserve the emotional upheaval for my own horses.

Progress Later
Now is not the time. You can do everything; you can’t do everything all at once. Perhaps in the future, when my hunter/jumper/dressage/eventing horses are resting after a successful Preliminary season, the right saddle seat lease will come along and I will dive headfirst – wearing my helmet – into the world of show trots and suits.

No Progress
Life isn’t always about achievement. Gasp. It’s okay to do something simply because I enjoy it.

Making The Decision
As I have undoubtedly mentioned before, I want to be the person who willing leaps onto any horse. I’m not. This makes my decisions harder. Is Option Two the right choice, or am I finding a way to justify wimping out?

There is no single, permanent answer. I have this debate before just about every lesson.
And Now For Something Completely Different
My annual explanation for why the blog ignores so much of what goes on in the world [Speaking Out].

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

3 thoughts on “Lessons, Theory Vs. Reality, Further Considerations

  1. Dear fellow Black and White person,

    Why not both? Gray is tough but get used to it. There’s a lot of it out there.

  2. I don’t care a fig about showing. Never have, never will. What I DO care about is having a light, balanced, responsive, willing, HAPPY horse and rider. Not easy to achieve when my ride of the last 8 years has been a nervous spook and the new ride is uber green. I just started lessons with someone new. Needless to say I’m waaaay out of my comfort zone. Even the drive (through our state capital) scares the living daylights out of me. But I just had my second lesson today and I can already see and feel the improvements. There’s a LOT to be said for riding a horse that already knows and embraces it’s job. That allows time and the right head space to work on ME, something that’s not really possible when darting sideways or trying to figure out how to teach the horse to pick up the correct lead. I can’t imagine how hard all this would be if I was trying to learn several different disciplines at once. Maybe I could have done that two decades ago, but at this stage of the game I’m going have to settle for trying to master one thing at a time. I’m good with that.

  3. Joan: I will be the first to admit that I don’t handle gray well. In this case, the choice is binary: ride Sam/don’t ride Sam, Either way has merits. It’s more about the self-doubt that clouds a rational decision process.

    rontaru: Good luck with your lessons. The subject would make a good blog post. Just saying’ …

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