I watched a TV show the other night where a film crew followed rodeo contestants through a season of competition. The programme featured bull riders, saddle bronc riders, bareback riders and two barrel racing ladies.
One of these ladies had a problem. About half way through the season, her horse started knocking over the second barrel in the pattern. The lady discussed all sorts of causes: the horse’s back might be ‘out’, he might have sore muscles, his diet might need changing.
She tried all sorts of ‘cures’ to stop her horse hitting the second barrel. She had him re-shod, she stretched his legs before a run, she tried herbs and additives in his feed, she had a vet look at him. She studied videos of their runs and eventually decided that her horse was lame and gave him painkillers before their next run.
And guess what? The horse still knocked the second barrel over.
The lady said her horse knocked the barrel over. But that’s not true. By allowing her horse to turn too early, the lady actually knocked the barrel over. A horse doesn’t know or care that barrels are supposed to stay upright.
When things go wrong, we all look for excuses. It must be the horse’s back. It might be his front. He’s lame. It’s his shoulder. It must be his shoes. It must be the saddle. He needs a different bit. It must be the wind. It must be the sun. It’s the moon. He doesn’t like men. He doesn’t like women. He doesn’t like children. He doesn’t like red shirts. Chestnut horses are always harder to handle. It must be the whorls on his neck and head. All this breed are mad. He’s an aggressive assertive personality. He’s a right brain submissive. He’s a kicker. He’s a biter. He’s a bucker. He’s right handed. He’s left handed.
If you keep looking, I’m sure you’ll find an excuse for yourself when things aren’t going to plan. Many people make a good living by providing these excuses to horse people.
You’ll never improve while you blame your horse or look for excuses. There’s only one excuse you ever need. It starts and ends with you. Yes, you. You’re the one who’s supposedly teaching your horse. If something doesn’t go to plan, it’s always up to you to adjust the lessons to suit your horse. There’s no point blaming the horse, the bit, the saddle, the weather or anything else. You’re the only one who can do something about whatever problem you may be having.
Instead of saying, ‘My horse won’t canter’ or ‘My horse won’t leave the barn’ or ‘My horse won’t go into the trailer’ you must say, “I can’t make my horse canter” or “I can’t make my horse leave the barn” or “I can’t make my horse go into the trailer.”
When you do this you, there are no excuses. You blame yourself. Only then can you learn and improve.
Read more on this subject here: www.fearfreehorsetraining.com/blog/a-training-fix-for-you-and-your-horse