One of my pet peeves is when people become so caught up in one discipline that they think nothing that anyone else does ever has any value. For example, the crappy boarder at my barn is a hunter rider. Who cares right? Except that when the barn owner decided to run a clinic with a dressage rider the crappy boarder said she would not participate. Why? Because the dressage rider would not be able to help her. My question back to her was if the crappy boarder really thought that she would learn nothing from this woman because the woman rode dressage. Her answer? Yes.
I don’t ever want to be like that. Yes, I love dressage. Yes, I consider myself a dressage rider. That doesn’t mean that I think that dressage is the best thing since sliced bread or that dressage is the only “real riding”. I don’t think that I can say that there is a type of riding that “I would never do”. In fact, a barn just opened down the street from where Phoenix lives offering lessons in cutting. That sounds like fun to me! I used to take saddle seat lessons and that was so much fun. I am DYING to do that again (the barn where I did it moved over an hour away). I know it is easy to get stuck in to the one track mind of only doing one thing. I mean, if you look at my mail I get dressage specific magazines, am a member of dressage specific clubs and ride at or volunteer at dressage shows. It takes effort to go outside your comfort zone and try something new. I know that I didn’t really know what they were looking for in the hunter ring and that I was put way outside my comfort zone attending the hunter shows this year. That being said, I am glad I did it. I learned a lot from the experience of going there and getting feedback from my hunter readers.
When I got an e-mail last month from a horse acquaintance looking for volunteers for an up coming endurance ride I could easily have said no. I would be getting no volunteer hours. It is the day after a horse show. I don’t know a lot about endurance so chances are high that I would not be a whole lot of help if I was around. It was a little scary to say yes. But you know what? I decided to go ahead and get out of my comfort zone. What better way to learn about endurance riding then just going ahead and volunteer for a ride? I am nervous about scoring for the ride this Sunday, but if I can score for dressage I can score for anything right? And who knows, maybe I will love it so much that I will want to take up endurance riding myself. I could see my fat spotted pony and I maybe doing a 25 mile ride someday. I think it is so easy to get stuck in a “group” and forget that when it comes down to it we are all just horse people. Does any else feel like that sometimes? And to my readers who ride endurance…is there anything I need to know about scoring before I go? Wish me luck on Sunday.