MASTERY ... AND FAILURE
Master horseman Tom Dorrance likened horseback hackers to musicians who play by ear, rather than by reading and playing every note— including the difficult ones. Hackers whistle the same tunes they already know, over and over; they don’t want to exert the effort that it takes to explore new areas that they will inevitably be “bad” at (at first), and their ego faints at the possibility of onlookers seeing their clumsy initial attempts. Yet the only path to success leads through failure. The master deliberately incorporates novelty; I am certain I never saw Tom Dorrance take the same approach to common horsemanship difficulties twice. He always spoke of “variation within the variability,” and novelty is certainly needed, especially these days when it is increasingly difficult to legally ride across open land. It takes unwavering dedication and the application of elbow grease and all the smarts and creativity the horse owner has to keep arena riding from becoming boring—which is what the hacker’s path ultimately is.