I hate to bring up the sore subject of winter when flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and ducks are happily bobbing around the pond. Yet, such cynicism happens to be engrained in me and this darkness is rooted deep in my soul. So, on a beautiful day such as today, I am reminded of winter and here’s why.
I did gymnastics with Skybreaker this afternoon and everything seemed to be going quite well, until I made a tiny bid with my upper body. Denny reminded me quickly that pushing me body at Skybreaker, even a minute amount, will never in a million years translate into a driving aid. He reminded me to get Skybreaker to the first jump and basically do nothing (more or less) once I got into the line in order to allow the horse to figure out the footwork and the rest. I was permitted to focus on my position and stay out of the horse’s way, but ultimately the horse has to do the jumping, not the rider. This is precisely when he said, LESS IS MORE!
Back to winter wonderland. Have you ever driven through a quaint little village during Christmas time and seen seriously over the top and gaudy decorations? I’m talking about the singing reindeer in the front yard. The fifteen wreaths hanging on a single door. The neon green and red lights turning on and off every five seconds. The life size candy canes. You get the picture.
Perhaps you are one of these individuals who insists on over the top decorations for the holidays, and if you are, you can personally write me some hate mail later! Personally, I find that kind of decorating very tacky and overwhelming at the same time. Last Christmas, I specifically recall placing a single wreath on our front door as our “Holiday Décor” and that seemed to be pushing it.
The point is, regardless of your personal style, or your idea of what constitutes as sufficient decoration, the bottom line remains the same…less is more. We see this all the time in the ‘real world,’ if such a world exists. Parents tell their kids to eat in moderation. Instead of eating three apples, try eating one.
We see this in presentations in the classrooms, and we see this in artwork, and with websites. We see this concept everywhere. I would argue that many of us can see this in the ring, on the xc course, etc. The riders that we idolize, or we attempt to embody, have mastered the art of doing less to achieve more. In theory this seems attainable, but in actuality, I find this concept fairly difficult to grasp onto.
I find this concept specifically challenging when I am jumping. I want so badly to help me horse get to and over the jump. Nobody wants to crash and burn, am I right? The reason why many of us are desperate to help our horses by throwing our bodies, or pumping our arms is because we are afraid of the what if, and we are not trusting our horses, or our ability as riders.
Consequently, these driving aids that we are certain will help our horses jump the jumps in front of them are actually not beneficial at all. Conquering the art of doing less while in the saddle will be a life long mission and goal of mine, though focus and repetition will play in my favor.