En Habit de Cheval

Ian Parizot writes a good improv blog in French. Here’s a nice little article about horse riding, and here’s my translation for us anglophones:

Learning to Learn

I started horse riding three months ago. It’s a tricky business, which is quite hard to get good at straight away, and success depends largely on a huge, unpredictable animal.

Remind you of anything?

The practice sessions are a mixture of joy and frustration, fear, sudden insights and setbacks.

I wasn’t expecting it, but the task of starting out on a new and daunting activity has helped me to empathise with my students, and has taught me a lot about teaching. It’s been a while since I last tried something fresh, where I had to learn everything from scratch.

Some general thoughts:

Impro gives you the opportunity to fail safely. The first time I came off my horse, I split my finger open. I would have loved it if someone had showed me how to fall from the horse before I’d got onto it. If your impro sessions are painful, change your teacher straight away.

Impro, like the horse, is a massive, unpredictable beast. You might think you’re in charge of it, but it can go charging off in any direction without warning. It’s daft (and dangerous) to think that you can master it completely.

The instructor is always giving me contradictory instructions: “Tighten the reins”, “Relax your arms”, “Keep him in check”, “Don’t pull the reins.” I’m left bewildered. I have to accept that I won’t get everything right, no matter how eager I am to succeed.

Sometimes, the horse just will not move or listen to me, so the teacher gets angry. The horse stubbornly sets off at a galop that I’m not in control of. Note for impro: there’s no need to shout.

I’ll finish this list as and when…


2 Comments on “En Habit de Cheval”

  1. Ianan says:

    Hey thanks guys !

    I’m a bit ashamed, I published this post, but it really still is a draft… Thanks ! By the way, I love your blog. 🙂


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