When I first started out training, I felt like I needed to copy the professionals I’d been learning from. I was regurgitating their information, but never as good as them, because I wasn’t them.
At clinics, I always felt like I didn’t have the right costume on. At horsemanship clinics, I didn’t wear the right hat, sit in the right saddle, or have the right bridle. At dressage clinics, my horse was never fancy enough, clothes never the right brand, and my truck was nothing special.
As I’ve gotten more comfortable with my skill set, and spent more time helping people and horses, I realize that’s not what any of this is about. I don’t care what type of horse my students are riding, I’m there to help them. And I don’t care what my students ride in or wear as long as it’s comfortable, fits well, and safe.
The information I teach comes from anywhere I see that works for horses. I have people who have influenced me, but everything has my own spin on it, because it comes from me, not them. When you do it, it will hopefully have your unique touch as well.
Whatever horse you have, make it the best version he can be. Whatever clothes you have, put the best rider you can be in them, and don’t worry about what everyone else is riding in. That’s not why you got into this anyway.
There are universal principles, undoubtedly, but each of us are different. Our feel is unique, and we each have something different to offer.
This year, learn from the greats, but don’t copy them. You aren’t them. You’re something much better – you’re you, and no body can be you as well as you can.
Happy new year.