I could tell he was getting stronger. It was easier for me to hold him steady this week. I was so proud of his progress.
"Ok, we're going to work on steering," the instructor called out from the other side of the arena. "Look through the horse's ears to the ground in front of you. Keep your chin up!"
He readjusted, slowly squared himself forward, and lifted his gaze.
"Good work! Now, we're going to turn right, ok? When you're turning the horse remember to look where you're going first! So I want you to look where you want to go and then pull your right reign back to your pocket," the instructor spoke in a calm, loud voice with a hint of a southern drawl.
He shifted his gaze to the right first then slowly and deliberately he moved his right hand holding the reign back, equal with his right hip. I was on the ground walking beside the large Norwegian pony he was riding. From the ground, I could assist when he needed a bit of steadying. Years confined to a wheelchair had atrophied his muscles so riding a horse was working his body and his mind. The tasks he was assigned were slow and sequential. Not too much instruction given at one time. In this way, he was not overwhelmed by the task of just keeping himself on the horse in addition to the new information he needed to take in and act on.
As I walked beside him, I realized so many metaphors at play here. But the most important thing I heard that day was to keep your eyes on where you are going. Don't look around and don't look down. Anything but looking where you are going wastes energy and focus. It also can confuse your horse... the thing that you are riding to your destination. When you focus on where you are headed it puts you in alignment with your direction and the instructions are clear to the sensitive animal that you are riding.
When you focus on where you are headed it puts you in alignment with your direction and the instructions are clear to the sensitive animal that you are riding.
The kids here learning how to ride already have enough to focus on by just staying upright. The motor skills that you and I take for granted are in clear relief against the struggle (and triumph) that I see in these lessons. These riders really have to pay attention to anything that will help them not fall off! It's attention to tiny instructions that can mean the difference between success and failure in this (literal) arena.
I think this is true when we are learning what it takes to move forward in business. There's so much to do, so much to learn, and we aren't yet steady on top of this beast that will take us to our destination. We don't realize that there's energy flowing here, this business you are riding reflects the slights shifts within you -- either positive or negative.
So my advice to you, fledgling rider, is to not look around and whatever you do don't look down! Just look at where you are going. That energy will keep you steady as you move forward.