Thanks for listening.
Sometimes , more often than not , I find myself asking the universe to slow down and stop sending input. Do you ever get that way?
“For me, once I send the intention out , I know to buckle down for the goodness to come flooding in. Among the goodness is the greatness of learning”.
Learning comes from Students, horses, and life in general. Some time either side of the equation has to be ready to Re Learn.
As an instructor/mentor I am always learning. That is my job. Best job in the world! Never ending self improvement.
In some cases I’m Re-Learning old things come new again. Funny how that works! Some times its brought to my attention while I am in learning mode other times it comes to me as I am working through things with my horses,( still learning mode, LOL ), or a student’s horse, to find the right answer.
If I ask a question and don’t get the right answer, I ”Listen with my eyes, slow down and prepare to get potentially uncomfortable as I learn the lesson for the day” = what the right equation is to find the answer I’m looking for. We must listen to our horses. Inappropriate behavior is not natural for them , its caused by something, It is a communication.
Why do you think this is so hard for some people to do? ( humble pie…looking in the mirror and accepting your accountability to the situation?).
As a learner I am very introverted. I like some hand holding, and not a lot of chaos. I like to observe a lot: extremely visual! I take it home and replay it in my minds eye while I attempt to emulate the maneuver , task or job to be completed.
Horses , some of them, learn in the same way. They need time, and no chaos! Softness with corrections maybe so, but not with emotion. The real test is keep the emotion out of it for all. Often times a horse is pushed to a point where they feel all they can do is be explosive, mis behave extremely, to get attention.
This is an introvert on the edge! Kinda sounds funny as I type it but its true. Like “Donkey ” in the movie Shrek, “Im a Donkey on the edge.”
In the wrong inexperienced hands( direct line and predatory, not emotionally fit), this horse will be man handled to comply: suppressed if you will. We all know it happens . No one likes this! But then why don’t those who get this way see there is a problem and seek to address it in a more communicative manor. Not to say my idea of True Horsemanship should be all flowers and fluff , not at all, but horses communicate in the purest of ways. If we can learn to respond accordingly and appropriately things will change.
They don’t want to win the game they want to be a part of a fair game. None of us as humans like being involved in a game or discussion which is so one sided. For me I know I just shut down, stop listening and or just walk away. Lots of signs are given prior to this departure, ( mental or physical), but if Im not thought of, I’m gone. Being human we tend to have a mostly rational response and it is understood, Usually. Our counterpart see’s or perceives a rift and should respond accordingly to re open the door to play or communication. The results can vary depending on the degree of shut down. Horses, depending on the type of brain they have can be very rational and calculating in response or just blow. Don’t you love it when you see a horse get the message across . Or depending on the clueless — ness of the human( Sorry), begin to try.
EX: Don’t think they don’t know where your foot is! And suddenly feel nothing from pressure to move off. This is a mild but classic case. Gotta love it!
A good leader, if ever caught in this situation, no one is perfect, (we cant be, we are human),would probably catch the rift before it grew too wide, and if ego was left out, offer a softer solution and communication would be more 2 way. I do not think that this is being wishy washy. Here you get into a bit of the school of
” You can’t let them think they’ve won”. How many of you still hear that today around horses. Talk about Human EGO! Again, horse don’t want to win they just want to be a participating member of your herd of 2. They want to know where they stand in your world . They want safety, and comfort. Ok food and water too but lets hope that goes without saying. When I feel safe and comfortable I have fun.
Don’t you want your horses to have fun, and feel confident to express themselves? Good question huh? Do you know what that requires from us?
A great book “Play to Win ” by Larry and Hersch Wilson, discribes this perfeclty. Might I add this is an amazing book , full of Aha moments, that in the first chapter clarified what I was going through in my life but couldnt pin point or discribe to others. I had begun this transformaton and though aware of it , so much was untangible.
” When we are talking about playing to win in the adventure of our lives, the traditional definitions of winning and losing don’t hold up. Of course , there are times when we need to call on our competative nature to accomplish what we have set out to accomplish. But competing to defeat someone is only one way of responding to the events we encounter. In fact, in the great adventure of our lives, there is no one to defeat.” P 22
In my world what I have found is you need to know what you want and like and will accept as a foundation to teach from with human and horses. But , no person is alike and no horse either , so to assume your way is the only way is quite bold. This holds true for learners and teachers. Guess we call it being Closed Minded! Not seen too much in horses unless pushed too far, for too long and they are on shut down to humans.
From a learners point of view, USUALLY… taking what you learn and making it your own is the very right thing to do. Its you , your horse , your job, so buck up and assume responsibility for your own decisions. Don’t try it and say , “Ah this doesn’t work,” because you got a response that backed you off. That my friends is communication. “Listen with our eyes”. Admit you don’t know it all and ask for help for sure after honest attempts have been made by you to find neutral. This is the process of learning. So what if you might have caused the issue,We usually do. Welcome to the group. It, thankfully to horses being so forgiving, can usually be fixed. As stated before , usually there are things that happen before the end result. If we all slow down and listen we might be able to not have to go there. It is here, at the ”Cross roads of communication,” that I see a lot of the inconsistency, and hopping from one thing to another to avoid Accountability, (responsibility), to your own inadequacies, mistakes, errors, is so normal these days , kids and horses suffer. It’s not the tools or the technique it’s the implementor.
I hear about this a lot, and eventually see it first hand as those who are ready to Re-learn( three cheers!!), come to me and ask for help finding the way back to a better relationship with here horses. Challenges are opportunities to grow and get better. With horse I say they see you and raise you one or ten! Can you meet the challenge, find the way, and be the leader, the Accountable/Responsible human leader they need and are asking you to be?
It may not seem like asking when things get weird,( small things were over looked and now it huge), and your sweet little horse finally has taken a stand. Someone wants to have a say in the game plan. We can do one of 2 things, go direct line , or “Listen with your eyes, slow down, and be open to Re Learning”.
No one thing is perfect including who we look at in the mirror. But it is that person, who if going it alone, with no willingness to look imperfect for fear of looking like a failure, who them must eventually come to terms with the big questions …
Whose fault is this really? Who or what is holding me back?
A very good friend/mentor worked through this with me and others over a couple summers of intense horsemanship clinics,( not always about the riding), and last time the group was asked
” What’s holding you back? “, I was very proud to say “Me”. I got it loud and clear. Open the trunk, put my baggage on the corner and drive away!
No one else makes my final decisions, plays with my horses, rides them , interacts with my circles of fiends. If I’m going to be what I want to be, I need to be accountable. The past is over its time for many of us to move on!
Speaking as a horse owner and professional it’s a hard process to go thru but we can’t blame the horse worlds top names, or our childhood, or what ever we might come up with, for our inadequacies. Its us, practicing imperfectly, and not Listening with our eyes . Horses serve up humble pie so well.
If your horse is asking you to step up, it’s the universe opening the door to a learning curve, will you accept the challenge and see where it takes you, professionally , personally? Sometimes it’s not what we want revealed about ourselves.
Again an excerpt from the book by Larry and Hersch Wilson called “Play to Win”.. discussing Playing to win, or Playing to not loose.
Playing to not loose: Avoiding situations where we might lose, fail, be emotioanlly hurt, or be rejected. p 23
Playing to Win: Consciously going as far as I can with all that I have and learn from what ever happens. p 25
Welcome to true horsemanship… let the games begin.