Saturday, December 03, 2011

Taking Small Steps

Impatience Doesn't Always Pay Off

I am not a patient person about most things. I like to get a job done and I don't like to wait for things to be done. I often take my time starting a task, spending a lot of time thinking and planning on how to tackle it and that often leaves a lot of work never even started. But once I begin, I am driven to "get 'er done, " ASAP.

Riding and training horses has taught me a lot about taking things a bit at a time. But I must admit, through a lot of my training, I would battle out an exercise with my horse in order to accomplish it--often pushing both of us beyond our emotional and sometimes physical limits.  As long as the exercise was something we were both capable of, it was OK, but I'm not sure it was always the best approach.

Over time, I learned from my horses that taking things more slowly and breaking down larger goals into smaller, more easily accomplished steps worked a lot better.  Half pass is considered an upper level exercise at the trot and canter. It's really hard to teach a horse to half pass at first effort if he does not understand first how to move sideways off the leg.  Moving sideways off the leg requires that the horse understand to move away from pressure in the first place and that is an even more basic concept.  Then too, a horse that cannot balance itself well at the trot is going to have trouble balancing sideways, so  that is an even more elementary skill.

That idea is where all the steps on various training scales have developed over the years. While I don't necessarily follow one set pattern of training my horses, I have learned that nearly every goal needs to be reached through a series of steps designed to prepare the horse both physically and mentally.  I'm not always great at it, but at least I've learned.

So, now, I am trying to apply the same thinking to my own life/recovery.  Need a bale of hay?  If you can't carry a full one, open up the bale and carry a few flakes at a time. Cleaning the stalls? Don't fill the wheelbarrow to maximum weight capacity. Better to make two trips you can manage than struggle to push too many pounds through the mud. Fifty pound bags of  grain?  Open the bag, empty a bucket or two out and then dump the much lighter bag into the feed bin.

And then theire's the big tree branch still lying in the back yard. I've been sawing off the limbs a little at a time. Saw until you're tired, put the saw away and save the rest for another day. I am pleased to say the limb is at last ready to be dragged off by the tractor.  The too wide limbs are off, and I should be able to move it out to the woods as soon as I get around to it.

No hurry. I'm just taking this job one step at a time.


  1. I totally agree with you about the training of horses. Taking little steps until they are learned correctly all add up in the end to reaching the ultimate goal. Like you I tend to be an impatient person and want things done in a day. Horses have taught me that it's not all that important to have that sort of personality, one step at a time and it will get done. Sounds like your horses have taught you the same lesson. Glad that tree limb is manageable now.

  2. Being wiser as getting older ^-^ LOL!!!

    That is why older horseman/woman are much interesting than younger one. Usually they have been hurt and they do not have teh strength of their youth, therefore they use more subtle techniques ^_^

    Take care, Take the time it takes, so it will go faster ;-)

  3. Apart from the knees I could have written your post word for word myself Jean.

    I can't lift a full 30kg basle of haylage this year, so I am breaking them open and accepting getting older and weaker with as much grace as I can muster!


  4. sounds good to me jean, exactly what i'm doing with everything!