“Hey cabbie”, goes the old joke, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”
“Practice, practice, practice”, answers the Cab Driver
It`s no deep dark secret that a key method for the acquistion of skill sets is to repeat and repeat the action until the person “owns” the skill. Two thousand years ago, the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, declared, “For things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
This is true in sports, in music, in writing, in public speaking, probably in stacking cans of peas on a grocery shelf.
Which bumps the aspiring rider face first into a hard dilemma. The rider may need to jump thousands of jumps to develop timing, feel, precision, and correct form in the air, or the rider may need hours of sitting trot without stirrups to acquire the independent seat, we basically know this is true. However—-A golf ball doesn`t care how often you hit it, a piano doesn`t care how many hours you pound on its keys, but a horse DOES care how hard you ride him.
If a rider has only one “practice vehicle”, one horse, it limits the amount of available practice time to what the one horse can take, both physically and mentally. When Jack Le Goff described the old cavalry school method of endless drill, he wasn`t talking about riders with just one horse. Each aspirant was allocated a string. When one horse got tired, you hopped on the next.
Many of our top riders, similarly, jump more fences in a week, on a string of horses, than most riders with one horse, jump in a month. That`s a simple, but depressing reality. The rider needs the practice time, but the one horse can`t provide it.
It`s not as if there`s any magic answer. The aspiring rider either has to find a way to ride more hours each day, each week, each month, or progress will be slower than that made by those with more saddle time. Don`t get bogged down by the the word “fair”, as in “It`s not “fair” that Carol has 7 to ride, and I have 1″ Instead of worrying about what is or isn`t fair, study this conundrum, and figure out how to solve it.
How well you solve this will probably determine almost more than your skill and desire how far you`ll be able to climb.