I’m doing something different today, in the spirit of Thanksgiving. When I started my blog, almost eight years ago now, I had a nebulous thought. It was inane, and simplistic, and lacked any kind of forward-thinking plan. And it was personal.
I wanted to help horses, simply because they have helped me.
You have to love a plan so huge and formless that there seems no way to start it, but that one-step-at-a-time method works, if pursued with a mule-like tenacity. At the same time, it occurred to me that I was a forced reader (a trainer’s responsibility to stay informed) of horse articles and books. They were textbook-dry sometimes. To get my word out meant that my writing had to improve, in order for readers to want to read. So that just made my nebulous plan larger and more complicated, and of course, those two condiments–time rich and income poor. Can I just affirm that even now I have no idea what I’m doing?
Then this started to happen:
I wanted to reach out to you and thank you profoundly for your insight. I just finished reading your book, “Relaxed and Forward” and it has transformed my ride. Like most of us DQs I was bitten by ambition and desire to get the perfect dressage horse, push through the levels, impress the judges and my dressagy friends with the beauty of our team work. Well that didn’t work. I internalized the persistent cry from trainers and friends for “more, more, more” as push, push, push, kick, kick, kick, pull, pull, pull, grunt, grunt, grunt. I manhandled and worked way too hard. I knew I was the one who needed to change but I didn’t know how. Now with a fresh perspective I have decided to get over myself and listen to my horse, to reward the smallest try with lavish praise and avoid the resistence by refusing to pull or manhandle. After 3 rides with this intention my horse has relaxed, opened up with forward flowing energy and his eye is happy and sweet at the end of the ride. Instead of pulling I have re-trained myself to release unabashedly no matter what my brain tells me and he is thoroughly appreciative of this new woman on his back! I have bookmarked many pages and will refer to them often for fortitude and inspiration to continue this path. I believe Winter, my lovely horse would like to say thanks to you as well. I think we can go as far as we want if we continue on this path. Like most of us I’ve read a jillion equestrian books, magazine articles, and watched countless videos. The only one to transform my ride was your work. So thank you from the bottom of my heart and from the lovely, strong amazing horse I am privileged to love and ride.
PS Just had to share one more thing! A barn mate gave me a totally unsolicited comment on my ride today and said, “wow, your horse looked really relaxed and forward today!” Omg! Have not had any conversation with her about reading your book or making changes in my ride. Pure joy!
This note came from a reader recently; to say it sent me sailing would be an understatement. I end up writing thank-you notes for thank-you notes.
It’s the thing I never expected, that overwhelms me on my tiny farm, and I’m dwarfed by your hearts. I struggle with how to say this… it isn’t about me at all. It’s all about you and your horses. I get more messages like this than I deserve, and each time, they lift me up.
Reading the blog comments every week has kept me writing. I don’t struggle with writer’s block because of your encouragement. So yes, it’s really you, Reader, who is responsible for my writing. And it’s me who is grateful for this extended barn family we’ve created here. It’s been a rough year for a lot of us, but coming together here with horse friends has been a sweet balm. At times like this, words do fail me.