Disruptive Innovation – ever heard of it?  Some have, mainly applied in business, but I love the term, and probably use it to generally.

Stubbs, the British painter, was a disruptive innovator. He dissected many, many horses, including the famous “Eclipse”, seen here, to see how things really worked.

Clayton Christensen, who invented the term, “utilized it narrowly to describe innovations that upended existing markets, but only if they fit a certain pattern he had discovered. A true disruptive innovation, he taught, first appealed only to a niche market and appeared less attractive than the powerful incumbent it eventually usurped. In fact, the incumbent typically looked down on it as inconsequential until it ate up huge swaths of its market share.”

He applied it to computers, which were originally massive, needed a degree to operate and cost over $200,000.  When they were first introduced on a tiny scale, as kid’s toys, they were slow and limited, but they gradually improved and disrupted markets.  Initially they disrupted people’s thinking too, but now?  Even as I write this, it’s on my laptop.  How could I do what I do, working internationally, without it?


Maybe innovation is enough, but I like to think of disruptive innovation – it makes you uncomfortable, makes you search for more answers…

My favourite question, is, “Why?”.

My horse can’t be ridden with out a tight noseband and a short martingale.


Because…..  Ummm….  My coach tells me?


“Maybe he’ll fling his head???”

“So, let’s try.  Disrupt the pattern, shake the box, see what happens…  Why not?”

I love it when someone’s theory disrupts my pattern.  A classic at the moment is the incredible Sharon May Davis, who is (slightly depressingly) showing how many horses are very badly compromised with the C6 / C7 vertebrae malformation.  She is certainly creating a disruptive situation.  But it’s a good thing – we need to know, and to create a solution.  She’s made me re-evaluate my opinion of some of the horses I know, and how I can help them.

I spend a lot of my time with Mary Wanless, author and brain behind Ride with Your Mind, who certainly disrupts some of my beliefs and makes me question things in new ways.  I can’t simply say now – ride the horse…  It’s so much more about anatomy, fascia lines, proprioception, mind mapping; a disruption to my understanding and thinking.  Find out more about Mary Wanless here…

I tend to dislike tack shops, because so many are just bulk selling, shiny, bling that people must have – it’s shiny and is a name brand – it must be wonderful…  I NEED this…  Even though its over-priced, your horse may hate it, adds to world pollution and capitalism, and you certainly don’t need it…  The large corporations who control the market.  Then, a little independent comes along, like Seriously Tacky, who carries a smaller line, only selling things that they actually like, are good for you and your horse, and yes, they may glitter in the light, but they’re useful too.  Disruptive Innovation for the big names in tack stores?  This describes it much better than I do!

Another disrupter for me at the moment is https://natural-connexion.com/– working with Lucia, makes me question how much we ( I ) operate on intuition – how much do we riding coaches need to step back and allow people to find their own way with their horses, with us just as guides, rather than micromanaging their every move….  Where is the line before paralysis by analysis steps in…  The ethics of riding and where we’re going on this route.

Maybe I misuse the term, but I welcome disruptive innovation – how many more possibilities are out there waiting?  What disrupts your way of thinking?  Are you willing to shake the box and see what happens?


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