What is linear, if not progression?

A phrase we hear commonly in horses – progression is not linear.

I completely concur with this statement, and I can vow the number of times my riding has taken dips and turns that have felt like regression, but overall have shifted me into a more complete and capable rider.

Case in point, Larico. Larico was a fiery dragon of a 20-something year old. He was imported, had an interesting history that made him quirky, and did not suffer fools gladly.

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Sensitive, but dull. Particular and heavy. His preferred ride was exact, he like shorter distances with uphill balance, but even if you set him up perfectly, he’d still throw you for a loop. If you had anything other than a driving seat, you were S.O.L. (Kids, don’t look that one up).

He made me a tough rider, but he also made me a very niche rider. For months after moving on from my favorite dragon, I could not see a distance that was not short. I did not trust longer (or even regular) distances due to his clever abilities to plant his feet.

Case in point.

At the time, I felt this horse ruined me. Each horse I stepped on and manhandled from the onset would grow my guilt. I needed softness back into my riding, and my time with Larico had not encouraged that approach.

The delicate hunters I used to ride were overburdened by my fighting hands and driving seat.

It was not until months past my last ride on Larico did I realize the truth. This horse expanded me.

It was not linear, I did not immediately feel myself capable of handling more personalities, but that is what happened. After Larico, I rode much more confidently (albeit aggressively). Before I was a backseat Sally, now I was driving the car.

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An adorable car, might I add.

Sure, I allowed bad habits with him. But he did a lot of good for me too. Rather than the pushover I once was, I became the decision maker. I was emphatic with producing straightness and quality of strides that before I would mull over to avoid confrontation.

Even my personal life felt it. Two of my most difficult phone conversations I’ve had (a breakup and rejecting a wonderful job offer) I actually held from Larico’s back. Don’t call while riding folks. But I also needed to feel strong and brave.

Because Larico put me through a trial by fire, I knew I could handle it.

My progression after him was not a positive sloping line. I puttered. For many months. Even today, I am still breaking the habit of driving with my tailbone.

Reaching my conclusion, progress is not linear in horses. The frustration of being too far one way, or having a shortfall in another dimension can be exhausting. Progress does not rise continuously.

But is there anything that is effortlessly upward? I am struggling with the answer to this question.

Knowledge perhaps, as our experiences and know-how grows to levels that enhance our expertise. But I’d argue the quality of your information may cheapen (or worsen) your knowledge.

So I am still searching for something linear. But for now, we can enjoy the twists and turns.

One thought on “What is linear, if not progression?

  1. Pingback: Recipe for Progress – Another Bay

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