By Natalya Gryson of Still Hill Dressage.
Our horse's greatest difficulties present to us our greatest learning moments. Quinn wants to run right through my hand when I put my leg on. Every day I get to work with her on leg into hand, not beyond my hand. Her natural tendency has habituated me into a rider who is accustomed to a very keen response from the leg. That means when I get another horse, I can usually improve their way of going just by sharpening their response to my leg. This is a feeling that Quinn taught to me. Our horses are shaping us as riders!
If improving upon your horse’s shortcoming is turning you into a rider that you don’t like, there is probably a better way - Seek help. Ultimately, I like the rider Quinn is turning me into. It is also true some days I feel frustration at my ineffectiveness dealing with her natural tendency. When I feel frustration creep in, I say to myself, “Please let me see this differently. Please heal my thoughts.” We need to recognize that moment of frustration truly is a learning moment! The key is to stay open to learning and not let frustration turn into anger or despair.
This year, let’s not just focus on our horse’s natural gifts. Let’s also be thankful for their tendencies that present us with so many opportunities to learn and develop. After all, we are on this journey together!