How to be Your Own Trainer
1) Become more interested in similarities than differences. For
example, find affinities with training techniques you are inclined to vilify,
particularly techniques from other cultures. This sharpens your critical
thinking skills, relaxes your self-judgment, and gives you solid ownership
of the techniques you choose.
2) Assume your horse is at least as smart as you are, and probably
smarter. The organism of his body has its own wisdom, which we see
when it heals from injury, or for example in the dynamic architecture of
the unshod hoof. Encourage that body wisdom to express itself as
intellectual problem-solving too.
3) Breathe. Remain perfectly still for a count of ten full breaths the
first time you ask him for something. (It won’t actually take that long,
but allow for it anyway.) This gives you time to reward your horse’s
“slightest try.” The softness and alacrity of your horse’s responses will
actually increase dramatically.
4) Use the “beginner’s mind” when you come to an impasse.
Knowing that excellence lies in good basics, break down your
fundamentals into the tiniest, simplest fragments, as if for the first time.
Question everything innocently. A mentor who knows nothing about
horses can really help with this one.
5) Follow the path with heart. To me this means to choose goals
that literally warm your heart, without concern for image, expediency,
or the past. If you change your approach because you’ve learned
something new, continue to appreciate the old way too. Way leads to