Thursday, December 08, 2011

All the small things

Joe asked me today what my plans for the day were, I replied without thinking that I had a bunch of little stuff to do. Meaning no grand or exciting projects, but that got me thinking about how most of the things we do are little things, even a big project has all the little steps pieced together.

Which made me think of horses (because everything in life can be related to horses), a good trainer in any discipline will give a lesson with the three basic elements of warm up, work time and cool down but will also break everything down into little understandable chunks that build on each other. Often when you are riding alone for a training session it is easy to fall into the trap of making a big deal out of it, like the training has to be x amount of time, work and if you aren't working hard enough then you aren't training. I guess for some things and horses (especially the dumb ones) that is true but I have accomplished more with Joy by creative training rather then drilling. It always makes me sad to see someone asking the horse in the same way over and over again, with no progress and both horse and rider getting more and more frustrated, I've been there and it sucks.

Part of the cornerstones of good training (or teaching) is being able to explain something in a different or new way. For instance I had a really hard time convincing Joy to canter when I first started her under saddle, I did the usual working on the lungeline and perfecting walk to trot while being ridden but for canter she would get excited and bunchy. So I took her on the trail and started giving the cues while trotting up a hill or over some fallen saplings, once she understood how to shift her weight back with a rider then it was easy for her when we tried again in the arena, and not a big deal.

I wish more people understood how to train smarter rather then harder and listened to their horses, that's how you get a good partnership. But it is a good reminder for anyone to pay attention to small steps since that's what really moves you along. Especially if you are super duper impatient awesome like me.

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