I was listening to a cassette tape that a friend had given me. The speaker was talking about human relationships and how to improve them. While listening, I heard something which really struck home. The voice on the tape used the example of a bike and said many of us want to “put the kick stand down and look cool”. The speaker was telling the listener how humans wish to appear to the outer world as being “cool” and having “it” all together. Some people don't want anyone to see their imperfections or how they may be failing in their relationships. They seem less interested in getting into the trenches and truly doing the daily work needed to save the relationship.
Over the years, I have thought about this a lot.
I remember watching the son of a gal I was working for. He was trying to learn to ride a unicycle. I was amazed at his determination, as each day after school, he would come home and for hours try to ride that bike. At first, I saw more “failures” than “successes” but little by little he learned to keep his balance and eventually he was able to ride his unicycle around the ranch and stay balanced for long periods of time. He had learned to “feel” that bike and make the slight adjustments in order to stay “centered” over the seat and still direct it wherever he wanted to go through intent and body language. Because of his determination to work the whole process he had gained the needed knowledge and feel. He had learned all the subtle things it took to ride a unicycle. As a result, he developed a true relationship and had become one with his bike. I envied this boy who rode his unicycle with “no hands”. When I try to ride a regular bike, I start wobbling and have to grab the handle bars again. However I know I haven't put in the time or effort to accomplish “no hands” bike riding. Even present-day, there are times when I'm tempted to put the kick stand down and pretend to look cool, especially when I'm hoping to avoid letting others see my limitations. That's when I remember the unicycle boy and what he achieved because he was willing to flub up while still believing he would eventually be able to ride his unicycle. His willingness not to give up has inspired me to believe I can attain whatever I'm struggling to learn.
In the horse world this same phenomenon of wanting to “put the kick stand down and look cool” also occurs. There are some riders who desire their horse to perform spectacular maneuvers or have them respond to whatever they (riders) are thinking. However, they don't seem interested in spending the time and effort it may take to achieve these kinds of results. They seem to be satisfied with their level of riding while still wanting their horse to progress. Maybe they wish to escape the hours of frustrating failures before the moments of success. They appear to be more interested in hiring someone to “fix” their horse, thinking then they can get on and ride around “looking cool”. What they don't realize is they need to become more proficient riders if they are going to be able to enjoy their new and improved horse. Sadly, the educated horse usually becomes frustrated trying to adjust with his rider's inept abilities.
We know it doesn't work well when one person is learning and expanding while another is content to stay in the same old rut. In my opinion this is also true when the horse is learning and expanding while his rider is content to stay in the same old rut. So when you have the urge to “put the kick stand down and look cool”, don't be tempted to settle for an imitation instead of the real thing. Decide to commit to the whole process. Learn to “feel” your horse. Learn to make the slight adjustments thru thought and body language while you're directing him wherever you want to go. Learn the subtle things it takes to become one with your horse and develop a true relationship. Otherwise you will be short changing both yourself and your horse.
If you don't know how, I'm encouraging you to hire someone who can train your horse, but don't stop there. Also be willing to take instruction so the relationship between you and your horse won't be lopsided. “Continual learning” is what you should be seeking. Putting the kick stand down to look cool is only going to last a short time before everyone (especially your horse) knows you don't know what you are pretending to know.