Ride what you know!

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They say there are countless roads to Rome. What they don't seem to add is that there are many BETTER roads to get there. So which is the best? Probably the shortest, fastest, least bumpy... and the more I learn about life (including dressage and writing about it) the more I realize that most of the time the easiest road is the best. Granted, there are times when getting from Point A to Point B requires taking the hardest, bumpiest, dirtiest way--haven't we all gotten up at 4 a.m. to braid a horse and drive 3 hours to a rainy show? However, most of the time the easiest way is also the best way.

Feeling overwhelmed in the saddle? Think back to to the "good old days" when you started riding and just ride what you know!

Feeling overwhelmed in the saddle? Think back to to the "good old days" when you started riding and just ride what you know!

I first started realizing this in my dressage riding when I was having problems years ago with the shoulder-in. The horse was getting crooked, sometimes even doing a poor version of a haunches-in instead and the more I tried to keep my inside leg at the girth, outside leg behind the girth, fix his popping shoulder, sit to the center, look ahead, breath and just ride, the worse it got. The more my instructor tried to help me, the worse it got. Then, one day, a clinician told me to just come out of the corner as if I was on the diagonal and after 1/2 a stride think leg yield along the wall. It wasn't yet a shoulder-in, but it was the closest I had come to getting there in weeks. Of course! I was over-correcting and messing my aids up because I was tense and instead of trying to just ride something I knew, I was turning my self into a pretzel. Next time around, I added a 10-meter volte into the 1/2 diagonal stride and voila! I had my shoulder-in. It taught me from that point on that the best thing to do when I am riding and cannot get something, just try to ride the simplest version of that movement. Ride the foundation. For example, if your horse is not half halting in the trot, ride a halt transition. What is the foundation of the half halt? A full halt!

So what does this have to do with blogging? Write the foundation! What does that mean? Ride what you know and write what you know. I first learned this when the blog posts that took my the least amount of time got the most feedback. Instead of spending hours coming up with some complex entry, I just wrote in the same voice as how I would tell something to my friend. I also talk about things that I think about, not some complicated idea I think people want me to think about. Whether riding dressage or writing about it, when I am just myself many things in life aren't as hard as they seem.

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