Here’s an excerpt of an email I just received from one of my students:
“It’s been my experience that instructors seem to have set ideas of what they want to see you do in a lesson, regardless of what’s going on with the horse or the rider. On Saturday, I saw you bring out the lunge line to the arena for warm up but I think when you saw how I was playing with the in hand you just picked up things from there.
There were times when you gave me instructions but the situation would change due to the horse or me and then we would just adapt the lesson to the new situation rather than trying to force the old one.
I realized how it’s built my trust and confidence in you.
I now feel the freedom to change my intent and adapt to what the horse is doing rather than sticking to my own agenda.
I would never have done that in a lesson before because I would be afraid that the instructor would get mad at me for not doing what I was supposed to.”
This got me thinking about how I teach people. It’s really the same as how I work with horses – which makes sense because when I’m teaching a person, the horse IS part of the equation. It has to be. I can’t – really, I won’t – ignore the horse’s needs over the human’s needs. And, at the same time, I give the student want she needs to become a better horseperson as well as a better rider.
Yes, I want the the student (horse and human) to learn something in each lesson. But, what I may ‘want’ them to learn cannot overshadow what they may ‘need’ to learn. I may have planned on working on canter transitions with a horse but then see that the horse needs to work on lengthening and stretching that day. It can be the exactly the same for a human student who arrives at the barn stressed and tense from work or family ‘stuff’.
There is no point in taking the horse or the person to a place they are not ready to go. I don’t ‘make’ horses or people do anything. I work with them from where they are so that they feel
better by the end of the session than they did at the beginning. The lesson they learn may not be the one I intended, but they will have learned regardless.
Sometimes the lesson will have been about riding; sometimes, about the horse; sometimes, about themselves.
A heartfelt “thank you” to my students – human and horse – that allow me to teach them and also become my teachers. Namaste.
Watch for my book coming soon – “Confident Rider, Confident Horse: Build Your Confidence While Improving Your Partnership with Your Horse from the Ground to the Saddle”
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You’re welcome to use this article in your newsletter or blog as long as you include my credit information: ~ Written by Anne Gage, Confident Horsemanship (www.annegage.com).
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Anne Gage ~ Confident Horsemanship