Good morning Horse Nation! It’s Thursday, which means it’s almost time for one of my favorite columns of the week: “The Secret Life of McKenna & Dorito.”
One of the reasons why I enjoy 15-year-old McKenna’s column so immensely, besides the fact that it’s always hilarious, is that it always reminds me of why I got into this horse thing in the first place. Sometimes, I start feeling a little too much like a grown-up. I get a little too obsessed with goals, and details, and discipline. I lose touch with that feeling I had as a kid, when it was enough to bomb around on my pony and race my friends around the field. There was a weightlessness to it then–I wasn’t too worried about making mistakes, and I didn’t put too much pressure on myself. I was dedicated, but only because being dedicated was fun.
McKenna is an accomplished young rider, but the predominant impression you get from reading one of her columns is that she’s having a blast. Her adoration for Dorito is obvious, and while she has goals, it’s clear that she’s just as enamored with the journey as the destination.
Yesterday, when I was riding, I tried to channel my inner McKenna. Cantering around the ring, I focused on the sensation of my horse’s back rising and falling beneath me. Jumping, I took a moment to appreciate my horse’s irrepressible enthusiasm for his job. I concentrated less on achieving perfection and more on the absolute joy I feel when I’m on the back of a horse.
My students Emma-Jean and Lucy-May