I’m not going to lie, there is a lot going on in the horse world right now – big changes in philosophies regarding pressure+release, training tools, and self-growth using horses. From a world full of unaware, biased, and rough horsemanship, we’ve turned into a quieter, soul searching, more questioning society. Horsemen like Parelli, Buck Brannaman, and Hempfling have really changed this world for horses – and for humans! Just think of where we’ve come from, and where we’re heading now. Isn’t it amazing?! (The picture for this post is actually me and my first horse. Wow! What a great memory!)
Here’s the problem: We are so busy now trying to ‘do it right’ that we think everything must be filtered through your new ‘safety settings’.
“Ol’ Sally” down the road doesn’t agree with your opinions about bridles. So you avoid and exclude her, convinced that you’re doing it better than her, with the humane society’s number on your fridge for the next time you see her riding down the road using a snaffle.
“Li’l Pete” over here posts a video of himself doing a jump course. No, his hands are not perfectly soft and his pony doesn’t look too pleased. So you post negative comments to his mother about how her son doesn’t ride properly. Wow. That was so effective – Li’l Pete will surely take your advice now.
Our eyes are constantly peeled to the web for things to disagree with, under the delusion that our counter comments and posts will help change people’s minds. (I realize it’s a bit of an irony for me to be posting something like this. I’ll take what I can get.)
What if …this game of judging others, trying to decipher the codes, and meanwhile getting nowhere with your horse because you’re too afraid of being proven wrong, is all holding you back? What if …we’re all on the same dock, waiting for different boats? We are not all on the same journey with the same time frame. We can’t reasonably judge others’ philosophies and intentions without having the gift of mind reading (wouldn’t that be great?) And what if …our horses actually know the reason they are entrusted to us and can forgive our mistakes just as easily as we can judge them?
I’m not advocating standing by and letting abuse go on. I’m not advocating that you give up your beliefs. But I’m also very aware that judgment clouds the vision and inhibits growth. Instead of looking for all the wrongs within a program or a person’s approach, why don’t we look for all the good! It’s ten times more productive, because you can actually take useful things away, even if you disagree. And I’ll tell you one thing: You’ll suddenly have a lot more friendly faces greeting you in your horse community.
Start being proud of your past and what you’ve learnt. Stop thinking that others can just jump into your world and bypass all the growing pains. Likelihood has it, you’re not as far along as you think you are, and others are actually more good-willed than you think they are.
Unyielding love beats rock every time.
This post was edited February 2018.