Monday, July 25, 2022

Has Talent, Needs Direction

When riding horses, we ask them to do things that are unnatural to them.  Typically they’re good sports and go along with our training, but sometimes they just don’t quite get it.  They’re like any student or athlete – just add about 1,000 pounds and a language barrier.  They get tired, physically and mentally.  Because of this, horses can get confused or defeated during training.

Occasionally, my horse will “lock up” when I’m asking him to do a new skill.  It was hot during our ride the other day, we were practicing something brand new, and the combination of physical and mental overwhelm made him literally stop moving.  He wasn’t being bad, just wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do next, so he didn’t do anything at all.  My trainer said “make him go forward.  I don’t care which direction or at what speed, he just needs to go somewhere.”  And dang, don’t we all?

When you’re not sure exactly what you’re supposed to do next, it can seem like the safest bet is to do nothing at all.  Progress, however, cannot be achieved by staying still.  Even if you’re not sure which direction to move in, you have to move.  “Locking up” will keep you stuck in the same state of confusion.  You don’t have know your next move, just take a step in any direction.  You may not know exactly where you’re going, but at least you won’t stay where you are.