Monday, 15 August 2011

10,000 Hours of Practise

I have just devoured Malcolm Caldwell's 'Outliers: The Story of Success' over a few days this week, a brilliant and insightful read into some of the hidden factors that shape success. I seem to have all but given up on fiction for the moment, but this is the sort of book I pick up and just can't put down .

It seems, based on the research outlined in this book that if you want to be really good at anything - sport, playing the piano, art, riding horses - then over and above some kind of natural ability you need to put in somewhere in the region of 10,000 hours of practise.

That's 20 hours a week for 10 years or so. I started thinking about my equine art, and I think just about squeeze that in - at times I do less, at others maybe I do more, but I am not yet 'consistent'. On that note, this book has given me a good old shunt in the right direction and you should expect a lot more Horse Art to appear on this blog as I work towards more consistent practise, starting with last night and this mornings work.

In Progress Watercolour Painting (copyright A Cairns)
If I keep this up, then you can expect to be the first to see some masterpieces (?!) appearing on this blog in around 9 years and 2 months time - good things come to those who wait!

Now what does this mean for our collective quests to be better riders? Well for me, it is not good, some of you who are a little younger or have your own horse may fair better.

Let us assume I have a few hundred hours in the bank, between my childhood riding, young adulthood and  my return to riding a few years ago, say 500 hours all in. So if I keep going at my current rate of 1 lesson a week and a ride on Merlyn, plus maybe a 2 hour hack a month, then it comes to around 150 hours a year. This leads me to conclude that I should be quite good then at riding if I keep it up for another 63 years or so....I'll be a hundred then! Hilarious....start young, that's what I say.

Ah well, time does fly when you are having fun!


  1. Holy crap. 10,000 hours??? Even at the rate of hours I currently put in, I won't even be half way there over a 15 year period!!! :-) Looking forward to seeing more of your art.

  2. Hi Wolfie...thanks! I have been having a bit of trouble commenting these days, driving me potty, but think I am over it.

    Yes, it is a silly wonder its so hard to get good at it!