Hilary Moore: If I can

It is a cold, rainy day in September and I am experiencing writers block. Having recently finished several articles for Dressage Today with no problem, I feel a little confused by my predicament: What to name our new farm. As I have been told by countless people, it can’t be anything too cute, cheesy, common, hard to pronounce, difficult to spell or long AND it needs to represent the brand of your business (in my case, boarding and training for dressage horses). No pressure, just find something amazing that no one has ever thought of and you will be fine. Just pick a name…


Cut to months later and we have named the farm and, even in a time when tattoos are removable, I am totally comfortable with the idea of keeping it forever. Forever, forever. It took a lot of work and sometimes the long hours of thinking and seemingly best leads landed us at the most ridiculous names – our tree in the front of the barn gave us Pepperidge Farms and our location suggested Hidden Valley Ranch. In addition to obvious reasons why those would not work, they were also just not personal enough.

“Als Ik Kan” in archaic Dutch written in Greek letters on the frame of Jan Van Eyck’s “Man with a Red Turban”

So what did we name the farm and why am I writing about this as my first post in our new blog? Because we named it Alsikkan. Als Ik Kan translates to “If I can” and has been used by artists and craftsman for centuries to mean “to the best of your ability.” When so many people strive for perfection, Als Ik Kan is the acknowledgement that we are only human – and that horses are only horses. That success is not measured in getting a 10 on every movement in our test and having a flawless ride every time we are in the saddle, but rather giving 110% every day and achieving personal growth as a result of that commitment. This concept is something I have tried to apply to my riding for as long as I can remember, but only recently found a name for. Since naming the farm, I have found myself thinking about Als Ik Kan at least once a day – both in the saddle and out, when the stress of renovating the barn while working full-time at the magazine and running a dressage training business can get to me a little!?So my advice to myself and anyone reading this during our 31-Day Challenge: Als Ik Kan, if you can. Don’t kill yourself trying to be perfect, just make yourself very tired giving it your all.