The Joy (And Pain) Of Learning

Learning is the eye of the mind. French proverb
Early in our lives we realize that learning is an essential part of our life. We learn how to walk and talk and eventually how to both at the same time, learn how to write, how to play an instrument, learn other languages. We do not only learn at school, often times it is life that teaches us. And in an equestrian life, learning is key: we learn, our horses learn and in the end, we see the final result. Learning empowers us, it gives us a new perspective, we realize how little we know. And how much more we can still learn.

But learning something new and finally getting it right, is such a good feeling and let us forget all the pain we had along the way. It all starts with profound things like how to mount a horse to, for us now, the flying changes for example. Every time I learn something new it also helps me to learn more about myself.

With the flying changes, we are still struggling. We get them right as long as I can create a (for now) perfect situation. I have already learned how to use my aid, the synchronization of them is not yet perfect though. And then we fail and need to do it all over again. Now with more synchronized aids. With the knowledge that the last attempt failed because the half halt did not come through. And we fail again - and we learn something new again and give it another try. It can be disappointing to do it over and over again - but even each fail is a great source of learning.

And it is not only me that has to learn, I also have to teach Hafl to respond correctly to my aids. He seems to have understood what I want from him but he is just like me still insecure - like when you learn to write and you still spell words wrong.

What's more, he seems to become frustrated from time to time, too. Like one day we get a change from left to right and right to left at the first try with no problem. Acting just like we both knew what we were doing. On the next day, we seem to have forgotten the whole concept and have only late behind or never behind changes. Bummer. Funny enough, Hafl sometimes even acts like he has no idea what I am talking about, ignoring all my aids. Not easy, but who said learning would be easy?

Learning something new does not work over night, it takes hundreds of repetitions until we are firm in something. Remember how long it took you to learn the alphabet or the times table? It might have been a real pain, but in the end, when you finally got it, it felt so good. You felt proud and it was easy for you. And you could hardly remember the times when it was hard for you to get it right. Hopefully, by mid year I can say the same about the flying changes. But I know that it won't stop there: never stop learning because HORSE RIDING never stops teaching. And I will enjoy it because I know that one day it will be easy and I will not remember the time when it was tough.

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