There is a bit of a blog hop going around about focusing on the question, “What have I learned?” Started by Sara, other bloggers like Emma have also joined in. I was talking to my friend MM on the phone last night, and I found myself talking a lot about what I have learned during my time with Rio. In an effort to dig deeper and organize my thoughts on the matter, I’m hopping on the blog bandwagon.
If you’ve read my blog for long you know that I used to do dressage and eventing in my junior years. I didn’t get to particularly high levels with either (2nd and training respectively) but they were on a horse that I brought a long myself, so I always felt like my foundation was very solid. I did the h/j thing in college (Sic ‘Em Bears!) and learned how to LOOK good on a horse, but my education on actually being an effective rider was somewhat stunted. Then I taught some beginner dressage lessons, and casually trained and lightly showed some dressage horses in the lower levels (yes I was a pro with USEF, and yes I had to reapply for ammy status years ago). I still felt like I had a really good handle on how to get on pretty much any horse and ‘figure them out’.
Then I moved to Dallas, left the dressage life behind, and taught beginner lessons at a h/j facility. My interest in h/j was revived, and I starting taking lessons when they were offered/when I could afford them. I was still pretty confident that I had an OK handle on this h/j stuff and that it was basically eventing but prettier and dressage but in 2 point. SMH.
Two h/j lease horses and 2 years with Rio later, and wow have I learned SO SO MUCH. I think any time you really and truly dedicate yourself to a new discipline you will come away with a richer and more well-rounded knowledge base. Did I master dressage? Hell no! Did I master eventing? Not even close. Have I mastered h/j land? HAHA, I WISH. But, I have now spent several years in each discipline, the old adage, “The more you learn, the more your realize how much you don’t know.” really resonates with me.
So what have I learned with Rio? To keep this post from turning into an absolute novel, I’ll keep it short:
- You can have a balanced and connected horse without strong rein contact.
- You don’t need a heavy seat to collect a horse’s gait or keep them balanced.
- The mechanics of the horse are the same in all disciplines.
- A good quality canter really is the key to almost everything, and that it is also much harder to achieve then I once thought.
- I’m lucky to have a healthy horse, and I’m lucky to he is such a willing partner.
- There are many ways to achieve the same goal. Although they may differ from discipline to discipline, that does not make one “right” and one “wrong”. BOTH can work.
I could go on, but I think those are the top lessons that have really hit home for me lately! So what about you guys? What have YOU learned?