Taking Off The Training Wheels

So many times in life, we skip the questionable, more dangerous road and opt for the safe, albeit lackluster path. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Many times it is the comfort of knowing what you are going to get. Opting for the chicken option means that your digestive system will most likely not object to dinner. Ordering the beef carpaccio or tuna tartare means committing to eating raw meat. Scary it can be, but oh the party in your mouth you will get when you dare take that first bite.

How about signing up for the class with the professor who gives open book, multiple choice tests? Been there, done that, but did you really learn anything? Why didn’t you risk taking the class with a professor who asks thought provoking essay questions? Fear of failure holding you back?

Trying something new always means risking failure. “But what if I fail,” you ask, “Won’t people laugh at me?” Possibly. You might even find that you laugh at your mistakes or hiccups (like when your horse decides to poop in the middle of every single test and ruin two or three movements…) Or perhaps they will respect that you tried. Perhaps you might inspire them to take that next step towards their dream.

So, my friends, Ike and I are taking off our training wheels and removing the safety net. We are fully committed to riding our first ever Fourth Level test. It will be our only class each day at next month’s show. (I dropped our backup-in-case-I-chicken-out Third Level class tonight.) Good, bad, or ugly, we will give it a go. The butterflies are already starting to flutter.

Here’s to taking that scary first step towards our silver medal.

alison

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Happy Gotcha Day Ike!

At approximately 8:00 a.m. seven years ago today, big man arrived in Virginia. Traditionally, the seventh anniversary gift is something made of copper. Hmm, I can think of nothing that Ike would appreciate that would be made of copper. I suppose that I could pay his board in pennies, but something tells me that neither Ms. C nor the bank would appreciate that gesture.

Ike almost celebrated his arrival with stall rest. He decided to run laps in his field when a couple of the ponies got fired up as a thunderstorm rumbled closer. He got a little off balance rounding the corner and lost his hind end. Whomp! Ms. C said he then showed off his sliding technique and ended up with his legs under the fence. Thankfully he did not panic. She said he used his ability to sit like a dog to extricate himself. He is missing some hair on his lower legs and had some minor swelling, but mercifully no lameness. He did not seem to appreciate my admonition of his antics.

Instead, we will be celebrating his anniversary with a lesson to finish preparations for our next trip down centerline. We are sticking with Third Level next weekend, but our sights are set on Fourth Level in September. I still marvel that the horse who had difficulty cantering a straight line as a three-year-old is prepping for Fourth. Somehow, despite my lack of coordination, Ike’s lack of fancy pedigree and a huge dollop of self doubt, we have slowly worked our way out of the lower levels.

The year to come promises to be a fun one. Poor Ms. C has to somehow teach the girl who almost twisted her ankle while standing still (there were witnesses in case you are wondering) how to do tempi changes. I wonder if there is a dressage trainer support group where they commiserate about their frustrations? “Hi, my name is Ms. C, and it has been 382 days that I have had to repeat the same comment to one client. When will she learn?!”

Here’s to slow progress forward,

alison