Once upon a time, there were two teams of students learning how to throw a spear at a target. The teams were to practice for one month and then compete against each other at the end of that month. The first team’s coach had his team start training by standing at the required distance from the target and throwing their spears at the target for many hours a day. Finally the team started hitting the bullseye and could do this for a whole week without missing. They were hot! This team was looking really good.
The second team's coach had his team start training by standing one foot away from the target and stabbing the bullseye over and over again for one week, instead of having them throw their spears from the required distance. After one week, the coach then had his team move back away from the target, just a few feet, and throw their spears at the target so that they would always hit the bullseye. They continued to move back, week by week, until the last week. In the last week the team was able to stand at the required distance and hit the bullseye.
There is only one thing that was a concern to this second team. They had only been able to practice at the required distance for one week, while the other team had practiced throwing the spear for a whole month at the required distance.
Who do you think won and why? Think about it for a while before you move on. :) :) :)
The team that won was the second team, that had started by stabbing the bullseye up close. This was because each member of the second team never experienced how NOT to hit the bullseye. While the first team had more practice missing the target than hitting the bullseye. And of course under pressure the first team was aware of their misses which caused them to be on guard. But the second team would not feel the pressure because they never experienced failure.
The moral of this story is to stay in the heart-felt connection with your horse and doubt will not come up.
How this story helps our approach in developing horses and humans alike:
Our first experience riding a horse makes a big difference to the rest of our lives in how successful we are in connected to a horse. It is the same way, from the horses perspective, when we start the training of a horse. A horse that feels a heart-felt connection during all of his training will turn into a natural school master. Meaning, that you can depend on him, that he knows his job, and that he has a deep desire to perform for you. He won't be looking for a way out of his training because he has never experienced a loss of connection.
I was started out the best way possible by my dad.
My Dad put me on a horse that he knew would take care of me. If I lost my seat, the horse would do anything in his power to save me from a fall. His name was Strawberry. This caused me to be a confident rider.
My Dad showed me how to ask Strawberry to go forward, stop, and turn. This lesson only took him 5 minutes to share with me. Then he said, "that is all there is to riding". Well, that felt really good. I got that accomplished in the first lesson, so I felt like a natural.
This is the first thing that you want a student to feel when learning their lesson. After my 5 minute lesson my dad told me to do what I wanted to do and left me alone, as he watched from a distance. I was three and I was glad my lesson was over so I could ride on my own with the wind in my hair at a walk. I was enthusiastic and I wanted to stay on the back of Strawberry for as long as possible. I still remember everything about that day.
I felt safe and I was able to feel a natural connection because my dad did not keep telling me what to do or asking me to do things I could not do. He made me feel as if I was gifted. This beginning that I experienced, among many, kept me with horses for the rest of my life.
I would love to hear from you on anything you would like to share of your experiences training, teaching, and taking lessons that has helped or hindered you in the past.
Have a great weekend! Be on the lookout for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.
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