Monday, November 22, 2010

Stepping Away From The Familiar

Lucky me. I got to ride in a dressage clinic last week with Henrik Johansen, despite the fact that Eddie is still convalescing. One of my students, Anne Christensen, allowed me to ride her horse Fable, a 15 year-old Holsteiner gelding. Although I've trained Fable and Anne for years I've never ridden him in a lesson myself. It was exhausting, but wonderful. Henrik pushed us just enough to nudge us along to new levels of accomplishment. Fable was just as pleased as me when all was said and done. And Henrik was, too. He said he learned a lot watching me ride a different horse. Really? 

I asked him about that.

What he learned was that I really know more than he thought. Cool. Everyone wants to look smart, right? But…um….Okay, July -- our last clinic with Henrik -- wasn't exactly Eddie and my finest couple of hours, but we'd ridden with him before…lots of "befores" -- years, in fact. Didn't that count?

I asked him about that.

Evidently, Eddie and I know each other so well that I spend a good deal of time reacting instead of acting like a leader. I didn't realize I did that, but since he mentioned it, and I've had time to think about it, I have to say he's right.

Depth of knowledge is a wonderful thing. We call it having a "history" with some one -- be it human or otherwise. That history can shape our behavior, our attitudes, and the way we feel about ourselves. While often a comfort, sometime we need to step out of that circle of familiar action and reaction to test ourselves, and find out what we are truly capable of. Fable taught me to be more conscious of my role as leader. Eddie needs that from me and I hope I can bring that back to him when we finally get to work together again.

I'm thinking most relationships can benefit from similar growth. Now I can't help thinking about my kids….

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