10,000 Hours by Denny Emerson

Any time we watch “mastery”, and I just watched Michael Jung’s dressage test from yesterday at Rolex as an example, as is this photo of Steinkraus, I am reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 Hour Rule.”

Ten thousand hours of practice is one hour every day for 29 years, never missing a single day.Or two hours a day, every single day, for fourteen and a half years, and so on.

So, if someone wants to get to be supremely good at something, start now for years from now.


Photo from Tamarack Hill Farm Facebook page

Each tiny step of progress is built upon the tiny pieces already mastered, like building blocks. The impatient “non-learners” will struggle to avoid that unpleasant reality, The learners are different from the non learners in ways that the non learners will never comprehend, and the non learners will manage to find hundreds of excuses, and find ways to cast wide nets of blame for their inadequacies.

The learners will be too busy in the struggle to improve to spend time on the blame game.

This is true for all kinds of situations. Imagine someone saying, “I want to be a veterinarian, but I don’t want the tedium of having to absorb 12 years of school and high school, 4 years of college, and 4 more years of vet school. 20 years? You want me to study for 20 years?”


You can check out Michael Jung’s ride on his super mare yesterday here or catch the livestream today here.


Denny Emerson Knows His Stuff

I have never claimed to be an eventer but you don’t have to be to mine the gold Denny Emerson is serving up on his Facebook page, Tamarack Hill Farm. If you aren’t following it already, where have you been?

please tell me you get this

please tell me you get this

As usual, Denny hit the nail on the head regarding the whole it all comes back to hours spent in the tack thing. I can’t paraphrase it and do it justice so I’m going to post below what he shared because I think we all need to hear it.

Either you find a way or you find an excuse. As Denny so eloquently put it – don’t like it? Tough bananas.


Whenever I post something about the need for endless practice as the key to improvement, INEVITABLY I will get responses about how expensive it is, and therefore how prohibitive it is, and those responses, while TOTALLY ACCURATE, are also TOTALLY IRRELEVANT.

What do I mean by that?

Well, we all know the overused cliche, “It is what it is”, right?

And here you come cantering on your horse toward a jump. You have a crummy, non adjustable canter, but it doesn’t much matter, because you couldn’t see your distance to save your soul, anyway.

You get in to a deep spot, drop him, and jump up his neck, while looking down, as he lumbers over the fence, sending rails flying into the neighboring village.

OR—Here you come toward a jump with a canter that combines, as Le Goff used to preach, enough impulsion and balance, so that at any nanosecond you can lengthen or shorten, as your eye, which you have honed by about a zillion repititions, tells you is necessary.

As the horse lifts off, your hips go back, your lower leg stays firmly put exactly just behind the girth, your chin and eyes go up, your back stays flat, and your hands and arms soften to allow for a good bascule.

Now, children, you can whine from now til New Year that it “isn’t fair” that the reason Susie can do it and I can’t is because Susie is rich/sponsored/, and I’m not, because—–

Drum roll—–Are you ready for this???? More drum roll—-

“The horse feels what he feels.” The horse doesn’t CARE why you suck or are competent. He only responds to the ride you give him. And how you became (or failed to become, or are failING to become) the rider with those requisite skills as opposed to the rider without skills is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT to your horse.

So figure out a way to do it, or don’t. Whining about how hard/expensive/blahblahblahblah it is may make you feel better, but whining is hardly as effective a strategy as figuring out how to get more practice time.

Don’t like it? Don’t do it.

Want it? Figure out how. It is what it is, tough bananas.