Jumping over a fence while on a horse's back is no easy task. A good rider will make it look effortless, but no one should ever forget all of the hours they had to practice to achieve such precision and flawlessness.
It's about communication and partnership. It's also about calculation and determination...
A rider, whether in the show ring or at home, must be able to communicate clearly with his horse in order to clear the jump. Both horse and rider need to be on the same page. There can't be any confusion or it may cost them a rail. Communication is important. Because without it there isn't any direction. And then we are truly 'just sitting on a horse'.
With communication comes partnership. A horse and rider work together for many hours to be able to break down the communication barrier between them. They learn to understand each other and trust each other. When they approach a jump, their goal is to clear it... together. A bond is formed. It's something that a non-horse person will never completely understand. It's a connection that does not need words, but both horse and rider know they will support each other through it all.
When they enter the ring, this partnership has a plan. The rider has calculated and planned the best route. The horse has promised to give it his all to execute it. As they approach each fence, everything is being analysed. The distance left before takeoff. The height and width of the obstacle ahead. The angle of the approach. If something isn't right, both horse and rider quickly try to adjust themselves before it's too late. Then they both soar into the air for what may seem like forever though it is only a few seconds. It's their moment to enjoy what they love before they reach the ground and do it all over again.
What makes a horse and rider combination clear the jumps and win the class is determination. Though they might make mistakes, they use those moments to learn and improve. They continue to strive to be better because they both love what they do. It's their determination to reach perfection that makes them want to push that little bit more. It's what makes them want to put in the extra hours. And it's what makes them want to get up the next morning and do it all over again.
All of these things is what makes a horse and rider duo stand out from the rest. Sure, there may be other things involved like nutrition and training, but I think these four factors will differentiate the good from the great. It's not always easy to find, but when you do it's an amazing feeling.
Well, it's a new year! 2015 has come and gone. We are now welcoming 2016 with open arms in hopes that it will be a better year. We look forward to its opportunities and we are excited for what is to come. I don't know about you, but I have a good feeling about this year. Sure, it won't be a perfectly happy year (none of them ever are), but I feel like 2016 holds plenty of wonderful experiences ahead. And I hope this year will be the same for you as well!
So climb up into that saddle and hold onto your reins, because I think 2016 is going to be one hell of an amazing ride!
Until next time, happy riding!