Edi­tor’s Note

Practical Horseman - - News - San­dra Oliynyk Edi­tor

My ca­reer path started when I took jour­nal­ism in col­lege. After grad­u­at­ing, I was em­ployed at a bi-weekly news­pa­per and then moved to a weekly in Mas­sachusetts. I’d planned to work my way up to a big-city news­pa­per, but life took a (great!) de­tour, and soon I was of­fered a job as ju­nior edi­tor at Prac­ti­cal Horse­man mag­a­zine, then in ru­ral Penn­syl­va­nia. After a few years, I be­came the man­ag­ing edi­tor of a small mag­a­zine, HorsePlay, and moved just out­side Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Next up was the edi­tor’s po­si­tion at Dres­sage To­day un­til I re­turned to Prac­ti­cal Horse­man as edi­tor.

Look­ing back, I see the pro­gres­sion my ca­reer took. (It’s so much clearer than when I was ac­tu­ally liv­ing it.) At each step, I made mis­takes—and still do—but was for­tu­nate enough to work with ed­i­tors who helped me im­prove my writ­ing, edit­ing and other skills.

Read­ing this month’s is­sue re­minded me of the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween ca­reers and rid­ing: For both, ide­ally you start by build­ing a strong foun­da­tion (the ba­sics) and then move for­ward step by step. In­ter­est­ingly, some­times you need to take a step back to move for­ward.

Three train­ers this month talk about the im­por­tance of start­ing with the ba­sics when train­ing horses and then build­ing on those in a pro­gres­sive step-by-step fash­ion. Even­ter Jonathan Holling talks about hav­ing the ba­sics in place and keep­ing train­ing sim­ple (page 18). The cor­ner­stone of even­ter Ryan Wood’s strat­egy on in­tro­duc­ing cor­ners is pro­gres­sion, start­ing with prac­tic­ing the cor­rect can­ter and fo­cus­ing on seat, leg and hand aids (page 40). And Cen­te­nary Univer­sity IHSA team co-coach Michael Dowl­ing says when dis­cussing his ex­er­cise to im­prove rider po­si­tion and skills and a horse’s tech­nique, “In­stead of plan­ning to get through the en­tire les­son in a sin­gle day, break it down into easy-to-ac­com­plish steps and con­firm that you’ve achieved con­fi­dence and pro­fi­ciency at each be­fore mov­ing on to the next one” (page 32).

When rid­ing, it’s good to re­mem­ber that life with horses, like life in gen­eral, of­ten takes un­ex­pected turns. In this month’s My Life, col­lege stu­dent Kelly Rhinelander shares her story of a ca­reer path that shifted to a bet­ter one (page 72). “My great­est ad­vice would be to not fear change,” she says. “This is some­thing I must re­mind my­self con­stantly be­cause no mat­ter how scary it sounds, with­out change I would not be where I am to­day—or where I will be to­mor­row.”

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