Making the choice to stay home and focus on connections, horsemanship, and our personal responsibility for what we bring to the horse brings a lot of freedom I never allowed the farm before we quit competitions. We don’t pull manes anymore. We keep our expectations of attire simple: helmet and boots. Our agenda has narrowed to a pinpoint of awareness — what is the horse telling you today?
A lot of people I trusted told me that I was setting myself up for disaster, that I wouldn’t make it, with a farm that focused on riding lessons rather than sales and showing. Nine years later, I am so glad that I didn’t listen to those people. The industry needs grassroots instructors who are able to focus on bringing riders along instead of divided loyalties and unreasonable expectations. We need skilled instructors who adore beginners and never tire of teaching posting trot.
Follow you intuition. Listen to your horse. Carve your own path.
If I had a dollar for every young apprentice who showed up at my door wanting to learn teaching methods but wasted an hour trying to wow me with the ribbons they’d won, rather than sell me on the knowledge that they’d gleaned cleaning stalls, I would never have to negotiate price on the purchase of a new school horse. It’s time that we, as an industry, give honor to the roots of our sport, to the foundations that make us accomplished. Let’s go after those beginners like missionaries preaching to convert. Because we all know how horses heal us and what farms give back to the community. We can calm our little part of the world through breath and dirt and the simple joy of a horse walking in time with the sway of our hips.
Follow your intuition. Listen to your horse. Carve your own path.