In Praise of Imperfect Conditions

Training Journal

If you’re riding a horse, you’ve already won.

 
I hate my riding ring.

I can’t half-ass my way around the downhill turns. I have sit up, sit centered, steer, prepare early, sit chill, not grab with the reins, be zen when it falls apart, then go around and do it again. and again. and again.

If we had a lovely, level, graded ring with a fence, it wouldn’t matter if my steering was occasionally wonky or if I wasn’t absolutely accurate in my position.

My riding ring is good for me.

I can’t half-ass my way around the downhill turns. I have sit up, sit centered, steer, prepare early, sit chill, not grab with the reins, be zen when it falls apart, then go around and do it again. and again. and again.

If we had a lovely, level, graded ring with a fence, it wouldn’t matter if my steering was occasionally wonky or if I wasn’t absolutely accurate in my position.

What is beneficially imperfect in your life?

Stay safe. Stay sane.
Katherine Walcott

Categories: Horses, Riding

9 replies »

  1. The short answer: Everything. The longer answer: This summer it’s the pool. Again. I call it a pool. It’s really just a mere puddle that rises up like a Phoenix as it fills and barely holds two adults on a hot summer day. I tried not to laugh when my husband came home with it late last July. (Our pool “season” here is barely 10 weeks if you start counting on Memorial weekend) Thing is, we don’t have a single flat patch of land on our property so I don’t know what he was thinking. Never fear, my husband is an engineer. A little sand, a rake, he’d have a spot level in no time. Turns out that’s not such an easy thing. I floated (quite gratefully, I might add) the remainder of the summer in a pool that was four inches deeper on one side than the other. That bothered my husband and he vowed to correct the flaw this spring. More sand. More raking. More wood structure to hold said sand so it wouldn’t creep downhill. I was impressed. Last summer we called a water wagon to come fill the pool. It seemed kind of silly given the small size of the thing, but the husband wanted it up and running ASAP. This year we filled it ourselves. We have a well, so that involved letting a hose run for a carefully timed hour twice a day. It took a week to fill, and by sixth day I could tell the pool wasn’t level. My husband was disappointed and frustrated. He’s already plotting a better solution for next year. Me? I don’t care a whit. I think it’s just fine the way it is. 🙂

  2. I can’t decide — nothing new at that. I’ve had lessons in fabulous rings, and rings that were like you describe. Both taught me something about my riding skills — and the horse I was on, but when given a choice, of course, I’ll take the better ring. Alternative — go on a trail ride, and get out of the ring. Gives horse, and you, something new to think about — every so often. My 2 cents.

  3. rontaru: I have this image of you hovering over the hillside in a mini infinity pool.

    Anon: I would love to trail ride. Have neither facilities nor appropriate horses. Rodney can barely handle his own pasture. I can’t image what he would do on a real trail ride. Anyway. First boarding barn had acres of trail. We spent more time there than in the ring. We had a blast.

  4. Avenel? But of course. Technically, it was my second boarding barn. The first was only month or two and I forgot about it until just now.

    I guess engineers distrust things that are hovering in space, waiting to slide down the mountainside.

    • You wouldn’t believe it if you saw it now, it’s been years since I’ve been there and there were already gazillion dollar houses and town houses, tennis & swim club, and I don’t know what all else. I try to forget those things and remember it as it was.

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