It’s okay to fail.
Mistakes can be good.
Without fear, there is no courage.
The last was spoken to me by eventing legend, James Wofford. I had just had the privilege to be the first and only rider to part ways with her horse on day one of a three-day clinic at Eventful Acres. It was a spectacular fall, with my green horse, Junior, managing to duck out in a one stride gymnastic line of three oxers. I got up, dusted myself off, mounted, and tried again. His words help me ditch my embarrassment, self-recrimination, and yes, stage fright in riding with Mr. Wofford.
|Perfection Rarely Happens|
Most Eventers know teaching your green horse to have a “fifth” leg is necessary for both horse and rider. The ability of your equine partner to save your ass is essential for safety and competitiveness, especially for an amateur. But in order to achieve it, you have to be willing to give up control and allow your horse to make mistakes so he can learn.
Because, guess what? No one is perfect, neither horse nor rider. I really hate that. I found that out at the clinic. It was impossible for me not to rate Junior to the fences, especially when he came out like a fire breathing dragon. And of course, the hotter and stupider he became, the worse I rode. Talk about a never-ending cycle of embarrassment. But I did learn from it. The times I managed to shut my over-active brain down and do what Jimmy asked, Junior improved and I grew in my horsemanship.
The clinic was a second in my lessons learned this summer. The first was riding my horse in his first recognized competition. I didn’t want to do it. I normally would have had a professional ride him first. I was afraid I’d mess up and give my boy a horrible ride and wreck him somehow. You know, the one ride that would ruin him forever? It took an amazing amount of faith in my trainer, Susan Friend Le Tourneur, and fellow eTwisters, bashing me upside the head, telling me I could do this, that I sent my entry in as rider.
|Learn From Our Mistakes|
Allow mistakes. Give it a try. It just might be good for you.