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The Best Criticism of the Bad is the Practice of the Better

As I mentioned previously, meeting the fantastic horse trainer/author Anna Blake was a turning point in my career. Her latest blog post "There Will Be No Faith Healings" was a super thoughtful musing on taking responsibility for where we are in our life with horses. My comment back to her after reading was this:

“Like a long slow sunrise”…I love that. And that’s for sure how it’s been for me. The saying that kept coming to me as I read your piece is “If we knew better, we’d do better”. I trained horses for decades with the only tools I knew-simply the ones that were taught to me. I thought I was successful and I was successful. It wasn’t until I happened across folks like you that I even CONSIDERED another way. Why would I have?

For me it was just the long slow sunrise of my life…the developing of a deeper introspection and a dissatisfaction with the folks I was hanging around. I couldn’t have forced myself to “get it” any earlier than I did. I remember watching ladies sit in pastures and thinking 'Good grief, what they hell do they think they’re accomplishing? What a waste of time'.

When the student is ready the teachers will appear. As I evolved as a human I evolved as a horseperson. I no longer throw myself on the cross and flog myself for all the mistakes I made or the horses I probably hurt. I just accept it as the truth of my process and today I use it help myself have compassion for the folks I come across who are right where I was just a few years ago."

So as I sit at my desk this Saturday morning, ready to launch my new Horse(wo)manship Program, I think about these things. I feel part intrepid explorer and part horse huckster. To advertise to the public this new way I train is to admit that the old way was is many ways, dead wrong. I have a good reputation and many people seek me out because of it. Today I hang that up and I start anew, humbly recognizing that much of what I used to teach just doesn't work for me anymore. Sure, there are some things I keep, and this blog will document that as time goes on. Part of my trepidation is this: can I marry the ways of a cowboy named Buck and the wisdom of Anna Blake and the others I'm learning from with the traditional ways I've taught horses to jump and win in the show ring? Because I still do love teaching horses to jump and I sure do love riding a beautiful hunter course!

Only time will tell....thanks for being part of this journey of mine! I'd love to hear your thoughts and experience with any of the above, and Happy Trails!

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