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Progress isn’t linear

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You are not going forward every day. You maybe stumbling in a general direction, but it’s never in a straight line, and many times you are simply going backwards.

It’s like that in many areas, and it’s especially true if you are an equestrian. When you ride horses, you have a partnership with another living being. It has eyes and ears and a brain, but it thinks nothing like you and it has different priorities. It can’t speak, but it will talk to you in many subtle ways – you just need to learn how to listen. And you can definitely move forward, you can progress and advance, grow in that relationship and become a better rider and a better horse owner, but not every day brings improvement.

Progress isn’t linear, and there will many days in which you’re going to swear you are abandoning the world of Equestria, and never riding a horse again. There will be days in which you won’t feel like going to the stables, much less tacking up and mounting. There will be days like that, but the trick is putting aside the doubts, accepting the imperfections of life, your horse and your riding capabilities, and just get the job done. Ride, or don’t ride. Maybe just go grazing. Or just give your horse a good grooming. Clean your tack and throw away that old brush you don’t need anymore. That’s progress, too.

Healing isn’t linear, either. When you or your horse are injured, the process of mending takes time and patience, and it’s not about “getting a little better every day”. There will be setbacks. The injury might get worse before it gets better. You’ll have a great ride on Sunday, and on Monday your horse will refuse even the simplest of exercises. And you won’t even be able to ask him: “What’s wrong?” or “Where does it hurt again?”. You’ll just have to slow down or stop completely, give him a rest, call the vet or just wait another day or two, to see what’s what.

Progress isn’t linear, and some days you are going to feel like you are actually going backwards. Some days the world itself is going to feel like it’s backwards. That’s life, and that’s especially true in the world of horses. So, not every day brings progress. But that shouldn’t prevent you from saddling up. After all, we are equestrians. We are used to falling off and being stepped on, we are used to dealing with other people’s shit. We know how to handle failure, and we know how to be patient.

We understand – progress isn’t linear, but there’s always a lesson to be learned – and when you learn, you progress. Even if your path isn’t always straight and true – keep on trotting on it. You’ll get where you need to, eventually. And even if you don’t – just enjoy the ride. That, in itself, is progress.


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