Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Blaming My Horse

When I assume my horse “should know better” the truth is at that moment, I’ve really just run out of creativity, patience and my knowledge of equitation science.

Equitation Science is using the system of how horses learn and think, in order to teach our horses stuff and solve training issues. It’s not art. It’s not telepathy. It’s not “having a way with horses” or a simply having good “feel”.

From Top Equitation and Hunter judge Anna Jane White-Mullin:

After hearing lots of excuses that began with the words, “my horse,” it occurred to me that the rider’s language said it all—I am a victim of my horse. The way it is supposed to work is that the rider is the brains and the horse is the brawn. When problems arise, we are supposed to “outthink” the horse—i.e., to get the advantage by quick or clever thinking. To allow the horse to run out at a fence repeatedly is to allow the animal to outthink you.

The language of success begins with the word, “I.” ”I” am having trouble getting my horse over the fence. ”I” am unable to keep my horse from spooking. The word, “I,” is the language of responsibility. It is an acknowledgement that the rider is responsible for the quality of the horse’s performance. If you take responsibility, then you’ll do everything you can to improve the horse’s performance; but if you abdicate responsibility, you’ll be a victim of your horse’s whims till the end.

When I hit a snag, do I take a deep breath and assess the communication gap with my horse? The deep breath takes the emotional aspect out of the picture. And the assessment: Does he understand a clear system of pressure and release? Have I delivered the system accurately?

It’s humbling to remember that when I’m pointing at someone else, there are 3 fingers pointing back at me.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:24