The lecturer was not a rider so he began by asking us about the essentials needed to be a good rider. We all called out our ideas. The list included things like:
- an ability to make good decisions in the moment (without anger or fear)
There were a lot more- I just forget them all. As the lecture carried on I kept returning to the list. Something was missing and it was bugging me. Finally it hit me what was missing: Love. As soon as that word crossed into my brain it felt right.
(feel free to stop reading thinking that I'm going to descend into maudlin ramblings)
Okay. I've spent the past few days reflecting on why this seemed to essential to me. Horses are not machines or tools to win ribbons/medals. They are beautiful living, breathing creatures. I believe that to be a good rider you need to love them. this does not mean that if you love horses you will win or that George Morris will say that he has nothing more to teach you. But it does mean that you will always be trying your best to establish communication and a partnership with a creature who is as different from you as could be. Horses have no intrinsic drive to show, win or do any of the things we ask of them. But they try it anyway. Because we ask them too. While none of us are perfect riders and we make mistakes. I believe that if we truly love the horse we sit we will be okay. This love will make us try, take lessons, fail and yet return to the saddle again.
Imagine my surprise to see this quote on FB from Nuno Oliviero:
“Hay creo, dos tipos de jinetes, los que aun con habilidad, utilizan el caballo como un instrumento, y los que le aman y le permiten expresar la brillantez de la que es capaz. Los primeros, no son menos expertos que los segundos. Estos últimos, son probablemente, los “poetas malditos” de este Arte.” Nuno Oliveira.
' There is, I think two types of riders, those who still up with Skill, use the horse as an instrument, and those who love him and allow him to express the brilliance of the one who is capable of. The first, they are not less expertise than the latter. These last, they are probably, the ' cursed poets ' of this art.' Nuno Oliveira.
It is the love that makes it all worth it.
No matter how that may hurt in the end.