Just recently I was talking to some riders on one of my clinics about an episode I had with my horse, you see I had taken Coal out hunting. Now Coal is 8 years old, which means I spent 5 years training him up to this point, he is definitely the best schooled and most obedient horse I have brought on in my life, but on the hunt field, with all those other horses running around him he lost it, no leg yield, not much brake, basically I just had to ride him in the bunch and point him. Fortunately the steering still worked. “Go with the flow and flow with the go”, as the saying goes. It took an hour and a half for his brain to cut back in and for him to listen to me again.
So as I tell my riders this story they all go, Phew, really, that is so good to hear, good to hear that a professional horseman like you can have trouble . Especially trouble so serious.
So that got me to thinking about all the things that went wrong with horses in my life, all the times it went bad, and there were many. In the early years, there were some real doozies. A horse bucking across the main road then just as he finished bucking I go phew, now let’s turn you around and run- then to find no brakes, no steering – full bolt on the side of the road ending in a cartwheel at a gallop. Honestly how I survived that is beyond me, not a single scratch to show for it.
Oh, and you got it 17 at the time and I didn’t tell my parents.
There were many incidents, not all dangerous, but all were bad news for the horses I was working with at the time, the one really positive thing about horses is they forgive. I could usually rethink a situation and in the fresh light of day try a new approach and find success.
I guess what I am really trying to say here is , we make mistakes, all of us make mistakes, no matter how far up that ladder on this fantastic journey of horsemanship you go, you are going to make mistakes- here’s the kicker- if you are not making mistakes you are not trying, You are not going to make mistakes if you simply keep doing the same old thing -that you know works, over and over.
You make mistakes when you try something new.
you make mistakes in a desire to improve your method of working with your horse.
You make mistakes when you try to find an easier or more compassionate way of communicating with your equine.
It really is that simple , if your heart is in the right place and you are trying to improve, so you can be the best you can be for your horse , you will make mistakes . But , and its a big but- you will improve and so will your horse.
So get out there dont be afraid to push yourself , dont be afraid to make a mistake or two, dont be afraid to fail, But dont be afraid to think either, dont be afraid to learn from your mistakes and failures.
Dont give up, many of those times when I was struggling for a break through with a horse , I got there simply with a pure stubborn determination to win through , not a mind breaking discovery , not a massive transformation in the horse , just simply a stubborn will to succeed and the knowledge that I could not give up on that animal.
Oh and having said that , there are some that I did give up on, thats the reality , some are simply not going to make it.
Which begs the next question , hey Bryan but you just said “pure stubborn desire to succeed, dont give up” Okay I did just say that , then I said , hey some horses are not going to make it …. Sooo , well that leads me to the next thing –
“there are no absolutes in this game”
The further down the track I get the more shady areas there are – There absolutely are not any absolutes in this game, What worked with the last 2000 horses might not work with the next one. If there is one thing that sets a horseman apart from his peers, If I had to put my finger on just one thing that will make a horseman truelly great , and thats what we need to be , for the sake of the horse-
That one thing would be the ability to think !!!
Think, Think your way through it.
If you can think of the question – you will find the answer !!!!
Nobody became a good horseman , or horsewoman sitting on the couch.
And now to finish up lets qoute Forrest Gump “Thats all I have to say about that”
Thanks for reading