The first, through reflection, which is the noblest.
The second, through imitation, which is the easiest.
The third, through experience, which is the bitterest.
Saw this quote (by Confucius) in a murder mystery I was reading yesterday and wow, really liked it. I also feel like sometimes experience is the toughest way to learn…But you do learn, every time.
I also saw a quote that the best way to sum up an event is two ways- did you win or did you learn?
I think I can always apply this to both my life, and my riding life. For example, I got back on Oats Sunday after his week off, and it was ROUGH. He was a spooky idiot, snorty, running backwards, freaked out by the tires moving location in the ring, and generally a moron to ride. I was bummed out, and concerned that even in the 1 week that we had on vacation he had regressed. We did have some GREAT rides the days before I left, so I got back on and was like WTF is this hell pony I have now?
So yesterday…Despite my sneaking temptation to get back on and DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM I instead learned from my previous attempts to ‘deal’ and ‘straighten him out’ that ended poorly and with me losing my temper and went the opposite way- I galloped him in the field.
I knew that if I went in to my ride with him with a desire to really get into him, and lay it out with him, things had a excellent chance of going poorly. I would get handsy, upset with him, frustrated, you name it, it’s happened a few times already this summer.
I remove myself from that evil desire to really get into it and battle.
And instead, do something set way apart and with less angst and just enjoy my ride. We galloped in the field with a friend, and Oats and I had a great time. He was huffing and puffing, and the hills are helping him develop his fitness further. For me, I am learning to not balance off my hands (still not great) and develop more of my two-point without too much upper body stuff.
In this instance, I would say I have gained wisdom two ways- the bitter and hard-won way of experience, but also the nobler way of reflection. It’s a never ending process.