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.”