American culture today celebrates the quick fix, be it fast food, instant messaging or texting while doing just about anything else. We seek instant gratification and often lose sight of our long term goals in our hurry to make everything happen now. Dressage by its very nature is a slow growth process, where enjoying the journey is often as important as arriving at your final destination. I was reminded of this last week when Waylon achieved another dressage training “first” when he quietly and kindly hacked out wearing his new double bridle. He looked so cute and accepted the two bits with such aplomb, that it would have been easy to just put him to work and let the leverage of the curb bit and chain manufacture the upper level frame he is working towards. Instead, we smiled, praised and thanked him for his superb effort and put the double bridle back on its peg until next week. Delaying that gratification and continuing to work in the simple snaffle 5 days a week will mean a more gradual climb up the levels, but it’s what is best and smartest for the horse.
Sometimes the quickest way forward requires you to take your time and wait. The next time you’re tempted to shorten the distance to your goal by using force or maybe the latest fad gadget, ask yourself if you are doing what is best for your horse or are you just being impatient? Make haste slowly and take the time to enjoy the process.
Susan Moody, IEO President