Late last month I had the opportunity to ride in a dressage clinic with Henrik Johansen. I love riding in clinics with him. He's a wonderful teacher. I always leave excited about riding and knowing where I need to improve.
This time was no different. I rode my friend Fable because Eddie, although back to work again, is not far enough along in his rehab to endure the demands of a weekend clinic. I've ridden Fable in the past couple of clinics and it works well, since I bring the lessons I learn home to Eddie. I did this time too, of course.
As I was riding one of the exercises Henrik had coached me through at the clinic, I started thinking about something else he'd said. "Ride with a plan. Don't ride by reacting to the horse."
Was I doing that?
Well … sort of. I had a plan, but I was very intent on figuring out if Eddie was actually doing it.
I changed my thinking. I took a deep breath, squared up my posture and let go of all that "gotta do it" tension.
"I am doing the exercise correctly myself," I said, not entirely believing it. "And when I do it right, it feels exactly like this." (insert active imagination here).
Then the most amazing thing happened: Eddie improved in one step.
Go figure. Although I should have known. After all, it's not news to me -- I "talk" this stuff all the time.
Guess I don’t always "walk" it.
And that got me to thinking -- is that what I do in my daily life? Do I fret every minute to be sure everything is "just so," checking to see if all my ducks are lined up properly? Do I have a plan I focus on, or am I reacting to each moment, watching for things to go wrong?
Maybe I should just march forward and let all my ducks line up behind me while I lead the way. After all, not all of us can follow. Somebody has to get out in front. It's my life. It might as well be me.