“Patience and time do more than strength or passion.” (Fontaine) I love that quote, even as a chronic rusher, I love that quote. It is one of my many mantras, sayings and quotes that I pull out of my hat when needed. And it is one that I tend to remind myself of often as I strive to become a better equestrian.

Pippi time“Time – take it” I say to myself when I wonder when (will it happen), how soon (until we get it), how long (will it take) and how many (times do we have to do this). The answer is, of course, “who the heck knows!” It’s going take the time it’s going to take. Few things with horses can be rushed, and anyone who has tried to rush a horse has found that it’s kind of like rushing a man or a child; you just slow yourself down more. (My apologies to the opposite gender, but you do tend to put the brakes on whenever we try to get you to hurry. You don’t even wear make-up or do your hair, why are we the ones waiting at the door?) .

The most important tool to use in conjunction with anything else you are doing is time. Take the time, because it is going to take some time. A former Trainer, a very wise woman, told me often that “there is no substitute for time in the saddle.” For anyone who started riding as an adult this statement really hits home. I see a comfort level in riders that started young, a balance and certain comfort in the saddle that only comes with experience. The Trainer also meant that no matter how the ride went, you were riding and the horse was ridden and so there is value there. When I prepare for a ride, or a lesson, I think about what I want to work on, but I quickly remind myself not to put pressure on whether it will work out. I have goals, a timeline, but not a deadline.

When are you starting your young horse? When are you starting over fences? Does your horse have a flying lead change yet? When do you think you will move up to 2nd level? Are you going rated yet? These questions are really all about time. We determine our success based on where we are on our goals list, while our horses only know when you were supposed to feed them! Pippi learns things at her own pace, and all I can do is look for clues as to what she is ready for. I learn at my own pace, and all Pippi can do is hope that I catch up to her at some point. She doesn’t put too much pressure on me, and I appreciate that. She sure is happy when I pick up a new skill, and gives me lots of praise, but she has yet to stomp away from a ride disappointed that it didn’t live up to expectations. She gives me all the time I need, and I do the same for her.

What are your goals for 2015? Mine is to keep riding, maybe show if the opportunity arrives, and to enjoy my time riding. Riding is my “Me-time” after all.


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