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The wisdom of ignorance is a ridiculously important part of doing this thing we call “learning to ride”. I think many of us that rode as kids can think of a time when we really felt like we knew how to ride… like if we had the right horse and enough money of COURSE we could make it to Rolex or the Olympics or wherever. Then, we get a bit older. We get introduced to the “greats”. We read books, we watch clinicians, we LEARN. And somehow, in learning, we learn how little we do know.


Recently, I was reading one of my favorite blogs. I real OG in my book. A Enter Spooking (If you EVER had a clinic in KY, I need to be there.)

I am not a Dressage rider. My only real Dressage training has come from Eventing riders and that only began in late 2015. During my first Dressage lesson, the trainer asked me to ride the horse into the contact, and I couldn’t do it properly. It was the first day in many days in which Dressage makes me feel like a total fool.

However, I had felt like I had started to grasp how this whole Dressage thing works, at least on a basic level. Then Megan makes a comment about how “the rider should kneel into their thigh”. What…. WHAT? I stopped. I blinked. I read it again. Dressage riders should not sit on their butts. They should kneel into their thighs. Oh… Oh well… That actually makes a ton of sense. So now I was staring at my screen, and I realized that I didn’t even know how to properly sit in a saddle, much less ride in one.


But riders do not let our inability to do something stop us from trying. The first time you sat in a saddle, I bet that you couldn’t even make the old schoolie trot… or even turn. The first time you jumped, you probably had no idea where your horse would takeoff. And the first time you went a trail ride, I bet you had no idea how to get your horse through that one damn puddle. However, you worked at it. You read books, you tried different things, you sought instruction, and you got better.

Each time we peel back another layer of the “riding” onion, we realized another skill (or set of skills) we do not know. But now, we have something that we know we can learn to make us better. So we try, and we get better, and we master more skills… and learn how much more we don’t know and can’t do. 🙂


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  1. L. Williams

    Megan is awesome, her series on Mary Wanless has been really great and eye-opening (and I’ve read Mary’s book!)

    1. Emily

      Is the book worth reading? At this point, I am concerned that it might make my head explode!

  2. emma

    yea i’m basically stuck in this cycle of being constantly hyper aware of just how much i don’t know… while still being constantly bombarded by discovering yet even more shit i don’t know lol. if this is the journey to being a good rider, one day i’ll be f*ing amazing lol. maybe…

    1. Emily

      Same boat here! It’s like I have to remind myself periodically just how much more knowledge I have now than even a year ago. One day… I shall be a passable rider.

  3. the_everything_pony

    I think that’s really the thing that has always drawn me to horses besides the horses themselves. There is no limit to what you can learn. Every horse will always be different, and you can’t always teach the same concept the exact same way. You have to be creative. And I love that about horses. There is always more to learn, and for me that is such a thirst and hunger for more. It’s one of the reasons I love reading Megan’s posts and her posts about Mary Wanless because it gets into the nitty gritty. Haha am I the only one? Probably not, but horses are the one thing I think I like being on the edge: the edge of comfort with what you know, and discomfort with what you don’t. (I just reread my comment and am hoping it made sense? LOL)

    1. Emily

      Hahaha I totally get it. Whenever I read one of Megan’s posts, I am always amazed by how much of a thinker she is in the saddle. Do other people think that much? I probably should think more…. LOL

      1. the_everything_pony

        I am a thinker haha! So there’s one other person lol. Megan is super tho at articulating which is so helpful when I’m reading her posts!

  4. KC Scott

    The longer I ride, the more I realize how much I don’t know. Which is surprising, because as a junior I knew everything…ahh ignorance is bliss.

    1. Emily

      Oh as a Junior I was totally ready to be the next Beezie Madden. 😉

  5. eventerinprogress

    I have always wondered about those people out there with the “know it all” mentality and wonder how the hell they achieved that.

    I have never felt like I know less than when I learn more in riding.

    1. Emily

      Oh my favorite is when i know something in theory and my body does the exact opposite of what my mind is saying. Hahaha I guess that never happens to “those people”? Lol

      1. eventerinprogress

        Of course not, they know everything so it couldn’t possibly haha

  6. Allison @ Pony Reboot

    Riding definitely keeps you humble, way beyond being on top of the world one moment and in the dirt the next. I am in the same boat as far as dressage experience, I knew some basics thanks to one of my hunter trainers growing up but that was it until 2016. Each time I compete in straight dressage (especially with a judge that gives lots of useful comments) I am overwhelmed, but in a good way, of what I’ve learned and still want to learn.

    1. Emily

      Toootally. One of the reasons I really want to go to a “real” Dressage show is to get some true Dressage feedback. It’s definitely “on the list!@

  7. Tracy - The Printable Pony

    I look back at my early riding days and omg, it’s scary how much I didn’t know about horses, much less RIDING THEM. And here I am 20+ years later, still learning so much. I think that’s one thing I love about horses and riding… you never stop learning!

    1. Emily

      Completely! Like kicking a horse isn’t totally how you “Make them go” and pulling back isn’t totally how you “Make them stop” hahaha

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