What I Learned About Design from My Horse! (Part 2)
When my fifth child and youngest daughter, Grayanna, turned 7 she let me know that it was time for horseback riding lessons. Even though I grew up in horse country, Aiken, SC, I barely knew the difference between English and Western riding. Locating an instructor nearby, my husband and I purchased a package of English lessons and dutifully presented them to our daughter to celebrate turning 7. Little did I know she would end up riding hunter jumper horses competitively and that I, too, at the age of 49 would learn to ride and end up owning my own mare!
Over the fields we went and all along the way I began to observe what it was about these powerful creatures and their surroundings that inspired me to produce better design work. First, like design, these animals demand that you pay attention and focus – that is if you want to stay in your saddle! And you must stay really focused on your design project if you want to stay employed. You must constantly be thinking of the big picture, the overall look of the project, or if riding, the entire ring. Just like when designing a room, you must keep in mind how one decision will lead to another in riding: if you make certain decisions they can lead to a successful jump or perhaps a successful dump! Design is not much different!
Another thing I’ve learned is that often you just have to trust your instincts. Whether you are cantering down to the jump or are at a crucial point in a project, you have to make the
decision to do what we term in riding “go with.” Go with your instincts and trust yourself, and your horse and you will be ok. If you’ve made the decision to work with a designer, then trust your initial decision and his or her abilities and “go with.” If you have decided on a paint color and you have done all the preliminary testing (more about that in other blogs), then go with it and complete your vision. It’s a lot about trust.
Above all, my mare has taught me to think more about function. When I purchased my horse I chose a stunning beauty. She is very shiny – and I do mean shiny – and has gorgeous markings. Little did I know at the time that she would teach me to ride one way or “another.” Unfortunately, it has been “another,” as she is actually better suited for a younger more advanced rider. She is an up-girl who likes to go fast and jump high – probably not the perfect match for an almost 50 year old beginning rider! Next time, I will definitely place function over form!!!!!
My horseback riding experience has taught me to know when it is time to abandon the project! Every now and then we start a home project or try out a new idea only to learn partway through that it is simply not going to work. Unlike when it is suggested to “go with,” you can recognize this
when you are cantering down to the jump and things just aren’t feeling quite right. Maybe you are out of alignment, maybe your timing is off but, trust me, you can feel when things aren’t quite right. Maybe while working on a project the paint color is revolting, perhaps the floral sofa you thought you just had to have is never going to work in that fabric. This is when you know it is time to abandon the idea, regroup and move on in a different way. That’s why I am now looking for a more appropriate horse for me to ride. While this mare is beautiful (which means a lot to a designer!), she is way too much for me so I will back up, regroup and try again.
Of all the lessons, this final one reigns as the most important: you CAN do it! I would never have believed that I could conquer my fear of these powerful beasts and actually manage to stay on one, but I have. I hired the right instructor, I purchased the proper equipment, I put in the time – and most importantly, I persevered. So as you take on a new project or dream up a new idea for your home, make sure that you obtain the proper guidance, always go for function over form, know when to abandon – and once you have decided it is right, hold your breath and just “go with!”
NOW, GO HAVE A FABULOUS DAY!
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