Forward Fixes Everything (New Year’s Homily)

That’s a good mantra and I’ve employed it more than once when His Mo-ness has been in a less-than-cooperative humor.  And when I remember to use the mantra, I hear Leah’s voice and think of how I usually hear that voice, from the ground looking up at me if she’s come into the ring to explain something to me, or from her seat on the mounting block.  Since it’s winter, she’s bundled and swaddled in a long quilted coat and maybe she holds a mug of hot green tea as she say “Remember! Forward fixes everything!” When I tell the horse to go forward during a confusing moment (hungry barn cat, the spooking of another horse, strange noises from outside), then he knows he can depend on me and that I’ve got things covered.  Well, I guess saying that the horse “knows” is kind of a stretch, but I’ve given him assurance in the form of a command that he understands and he doesn’t waste energy on trying to take care of the problem himself.  Someone he trusts, the bossy mare of the herd or his rider, has directed him and the incident transitions easily into a non-incident. But what if I stopped, as I have done so many times, and stayed wallowing in the moment of everything going wrong?  I think those moments are confusing for Mo, but they pass.  As a former riding teacher said, “One-Two-I-Forgot” to explain a horse’s conception of cause and effect.  But for a human (moi), the moment lasts and lasts and then starts reverberating with a bunch of other lousy moments (sometimes lousy moments from things unconnected to riding). It’s easy to do.  We remember the past but can’t see into the future — but that’s the beauty of experience!  We can learn from specific experience and can make inferences and pretty darn good guesses about stuff. So with Mo, I’ve learned that a spook is best met with a command to keep moving forward and then the bad scary moment passes and we’re on to something else.  There’s a lot of faith involved in keeping this concept close to heart and then actually using it. So during the day, out of the blue I hear Leah: “Remember! Forward Fixes Everything!” And then I go forward. 

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4 Comments

Filed under Riding Skills

4 responses to “Forward Fixes Everything (New Year’s Homily)

  1. Essay alert!!!!! (What movie do you want to go see?)

  2. So true! My horse is a flighty, diva, off-the-track-thoroughbred, and moving forward through the spook is definitely key. I like your point about horses forgetting but riders dwelling. That’s a good thought that I need to remember to keep in mind when I’m riding.

    Nice blog by the way! I’m going to add you to my blog roll. Feel free to add me to yours if you check it out and like what you see.

  3. Oh So True! A very good friend of mine just had this conversation with me about her young gelding. He is a “thinker”, and gets bored easily, so by working on riding him forward, and giving him “different” jobs, he is much happier and they had a wonderful ride.

    You have made some excellent points to remember, and it was great to pass them along to the rest of us equine-crazed folks!

    Happy Riding, and Happy Going Forward!

  4. I always enjoy reading your lesson posts! Knowing your instructor is a MM grad its always interesting to hear what you think of the lessons/methods etc. If you get the chance read my post entitled “Riding with Dog and Frog” If your instructor hasn’t tortured you with this yet I’d be quite surprised. Sounds like your doing really well with Moe! I think getting him has probably done a lot to improve your confidence and riding overall. Keep up the good work!

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