Homework: Chore or Choice?

Huntington Farm H.T. last weekend Huntington Farm H.T. last weekend

I have countless flaws, bad habits and life skills that require fine tuning….who doesn’t? I bite my nails, I have anomalous social skills, I detest not doing something well, and the list goes on and on.

One thing I am not is a procrastinator, at least not when it comes to things I am passionate about or extremely serious about. I might procrastinate when it comes to folding a weeks’ worth of laundry, or cleaning the bathroom, but when it comes down to practicing my sport, or studying for an exam that will determine whether or not I pass or fail a class, then I like to think of myself as a dedicated and driven individual.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard Denny say the following again and again, ‘Whether Im teaching one rider that trucks in monthly, or I am going to a clinic, one thing remains a constant…people DO NOT PRACTICE.’

I have also witnessed this reality on countless occasions. Riders come take a lesson, and appear as though they are mentally acknowledging those skills they need to improve on, and yet, forty three days later they return for a lesson only to verbally admit to not practicing or putting in the time for a plethora of different reasons, whether it be time, money, or will power.  

Obviously the idea of not practicing or doing ‘our homework’ when it comes to riding horses might be seen as an over generalization. Not all riders are content with mediocre skills and not all riders are lazy individuals who fail to take it upon themselves to practice what they yearn to want to know more.

And yet, there are large groups of riders who claim they want to be better and they claim they want to work on their horses canter, their own position, and learn how to really sit the trot, and they fail to do their homework.

If you are still reading this blog you are either going to be nodding in agreement, or your veins are popping out of your neck and your blood might be reaching its boiling point. The truth hurts and life is tough, but IF we willingly CHOOSE to be riders and we are seriously committed and ambitious about learning more and perfecting our ability to ride, THEN WHY wouldn’t we practice and do our homework?

This all seems to boil down to how serious a rider you are? How much do you care? How important are horses, riding, competing, and/or training to you? If it’s not that important, then I suppose this blog is not directed towards you.

However, if you are passionate about riding and horses are your number one priority, then you also have to ask yourself if doing your homework feels more like a monotonous chore, or does it feel like an exciting choice that you are willingly and gladly taking on?

I am not pointing fingers her. We ALL have things we need to work on with ourselves and our horses. I have an enormous amount of homework to do. Every day and every ride feels like practice and homework.

I worry that I am not I improving at a normal rate, if such a thing exists. I stress about not being able to see three strides to a jump more times than not. I am never pleased or content with my position, whether it be over jumps, or on the flat. I am annoyed by my inability to have perfect timing on the flat and to have “that perfect feel.”

The list goes on and on, but instead of curling up in the fetal position and crying my eyes out, I am going to make something happen. It might be amazing, it might be horrible, especially when there’s a major learning curve, but I would rather try something and mess up then not try at all!

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