For me, 2018 was not a good year. Work was busy – awesome. Some lovely changes made by lots of enthusiastic riders – great. Some pretty amazing feedback after courses and clinics – all good. So, why wasn’t it a good year? It just wasn’t. It didn’t flow. It was lumpy. Disjointed. Travel dates didn’t work out, everything was jarring. You know when you’ve had a ride on your horse, and it was ok. He didn’t do anything wrong, but it wasn’t spectacular, and it just left an itch unscratched?

I’m often trying to see things from another angle – how is the horse feeling about that question? If a rider isn’t getting a concept, can I explain it in another way? If they don’t scuba dive and understand what I mean about buoyancy, can I explain something “as if”, (imagine you’re skiing down a hill)? And yet, why wasn’t 2018 a good year? Why can’t I explain that? Well, it was lumpy, jarring, scratchy, seemed as good an answer as any, I couldn’t see another angle since I was too much part of the situation.

At the beginning of this year, I popped in to see an awesome lady who has helped me in the past – she’s a homeopathic doctor by training but has a whole suitcase of extras that she brings to the table, and she was just the different perspective that I needed. As she started to ask the right questions, from a totally different angle, things lined up.

What did you learn in 2018? Ummm…. What challenges were over-come? Ummm…. What new countries did you explore? Only one. What adventures? Ummm….. None. How far out of your comfort zone did you stretch? Ummm…. From a personal and learning perspective, it was a year of stagnation. A few years ago, a brilliant sports coach said to me, you can do something for 20 years, you have 1 year of experience that you have repeated 20 times. Or, you can actually have 20 years of experience. It’s not the same thing at all. By doing the same thing, day in day out, month in, month out, you are not growing, or learning, or changing, but just practicing what you know until you don’t notice anymore. I try to stay out of that trap, but 2018 was just a repeat of 2017, no step forwards, no new adventure, no new learning, and that was exhausting. That stagnation was why it was lumpy and unwieldy. “Plan better”, was her prescription, “remember to play, remember to be a tourist again, go and explore, grow and stop stagnating”. Now, I live a strange, peripatetic life, how does that become stagnant? It’s not something I could have put words onto, but she hit the nail on the head. When was I last a tourist? I travel to be a tourist, what went wrong? 2018 will be remembered for….. Ummm….. Sometimes, we are tired because we need sleep. More often, we are tired because we are stuck.

I know that a lot of main stream coaches don’t get what I do. Things have a status quo in their mind, and I often upset that balance. “Sit up tall and keep your leg on the girth” has always worked for them, why am I upsetting this? Maybe, just maybe, they are too deep in the situation to see it clearly anymore? Maybe, they need someone to ask, what is sitting up straight getting you? How can we change it for you to access so much more? What is your perspective, how are you seeing?

When I was in the Midlands of South Africa, we went to the Nelson Mandela capture site, where, as he was pretending to be a chauffer driving a clients’ car through rural roads, he was picked up by the police. There, on the side of the road is a forest of huge, metal pillars. On entering the museum, you are led down a pathway, surrounded by plaques telling of Mandela’s life. As you walk down this brick pathway, there in front of your eyes, the metal pillars arrange themselves into a stunning sculpture of his face. As you get nearer, the face disappears, all you see is a forest of pillars. Magic? Perspective. You must be in the right place, at the right angle to see the sculpture for what it can be. And, once you’ve seen the new way of looking at things, you cannot un see it…

The Nelson Mandela capture site.
The Nelson Mandela capture site.
The Sculpture from a distance
The Sculpture from a distance
Long walk to freedom
Long walk to freedom
Approaching the sculpture
Approaching the sculpture
Once you see it ...
Once you see it …
Up close
Up close
Nelson Mandela Sculpture
Nelson Mandela Sculpture

Watch out 2019 – it’s going to be a year of adventure and magic, if 2018 was a repeat visit to 2017, then 2019 is going to make up for lost time.  Need an adventure?  Come and join me….  Meanwhile, what riding issue can you solve just by looking at it from a new perspective?  Who can ask you the right question to get you to give the right answer?

 

 

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