New year, new beginnings. Keeping horses offers us lots of wonderful opportunities to develop useful life skills, like discipline and compassion. Bringing riding Theory into Practice requires self awareness, and invites reflection with its many interesting paradoxes. One of my favorites is the concept of vulnerability and control. We learn that riding well requires focus, attention to detail and precision. We strive to control the 1200 lbs flight animal and achieve different movements, in search of perfect execution. Yet, to get there we have to accept control is only ever an illusion, if true partnership is our goal. I wish for my horse to trust me, to accept my guidance and seek my hand through the bit. My horse, my partner, has to allow themselves to be vulnerable. They have to accept me straddling their back like a predator, carrying a metal bit on the bars of their mouth. Trust me to gently hold it. In return I have to do the same. I have to mount this large animal that always will be able to out-power me, and I have to do so with an open heart accepting the same vulnerability I'm asking of my horse. I will not reach for force or auxiliary equipment to shield myself. I will accept the possibility of failure, and right there I will find a chance to succeed.