I have a three year old warmblood that I raised, and this week was his second time to free jump. His name is Leo, and he is 17 hands tall. I have been very patient and allowed him time to just grow up, because he is so big. He enjoys working and is trying to figure it out. I like free jumping the young horses, because it allows them to learn from their mistakes. I like my horses to think for themselves.
When learning something new every one has to make mistakes. And I find it interesting that I do not give myself the benefit of making mistakes without ridicule, or thinking badly of myself. I am learning that that is very silly, as why wouldn’t I make mistakes when I’m learning something new. Our judgments about our self can be debilitating, yet we do it all the time. Or should I say I did it a lot in the past, not anymore. Back to free jumping.
I was happy to discover that Leo is smart. He ran full speed at the jump, an almost fell down. And the next time he chose to slow down think it out, and jump cleanly. A good lesson was learned, and I had to allow him to learn that lesson on his own. I am looking forward to the next time to see if he remembered his lesson.
So the philosophical lesson is to be kind yourself when you’re learning new things, and never stop learning. Keep the challenges fun and keep trying new things. If it is something you really want, you will get it. Enjoy even the smallest gains toward your end. I often tell my students, you know you’re getting better, when you’re bad days get less bad, and farther apart.
So don’t be afraid to make mistakes, be safe, keep learning and growing.