Thursday, August 12, 2010

12th August, 2010 Wise words

It's rare that I pinch Monty's words wholesale but I almost felt he was psychic this week. Theoden has a really frustrating habit of coming in at me with his shoulder when I am applying fly spray, no matter how quietly and non-confrontationally I do it. I have repeated the training with him a number of times now and yet he still does it. What's irritating is that he does it a good few seconds after I have sprayed him now as if to say, oh, I forgot, I'm supposed to squash you when I feel threatened like that. Normally I am really patient but the intimidating nature of this move has been making me cross even though I know it is absolutely instinctive and automatic for him to want to do it. Anyway, here's what Monty said:

A strong belief in my concepts gives me the patience to repeat procedures again and again. I know that they will ultimately be successful and, once you come to that conclusion, it will be much easier for you to express the patience required in this effort.

The loss of patience, particularly in non-violent training, is counterproductive. I have had a lifetime to discover that losing one's patience will eventually be viewed as a mistake. It is my opinion that we should practise the art of observing our mistakes, allowing us to learn from them. It is my strong recommendation to every horseperson that they learn the language Equus. Once we know the instinctual patterns of the horse's brain and the way horses communicate, we are far less likely to experience a loss of patience. A profound statement made to me in this context was, 'A good loser is a consistent one.' We must not be good losers. This does not mean that we fall on the ground pounding our fists, acting in an immature fashion. We must, however, feel the hurt of losing in order to be motivated to change our tactics. We should replay mental videos of the procedure in question. When we view ourselves losing patience, we should carefully note the outcome.I have found over the decades that any time I lost my patience my re-run of the mental video would show that my horse and I took a step backwards.

Horses are forgiving individuals and, if we are quick enough to rectify our mistakes, they will soon be back on a positive track. Recognizing progress is certainly an art form, but I have to assume that each of us has some idea of what we want from our horses and thus can recognize the positive track. Learning the language and understanding the nature of the horse will fortify your confidence. These bits of knowledge will support your resolve to stay the course, watching closely for improvement that you can appropriately reward."

So, it's an improvement that Theoden doesn't actually launch himself at me the instant I spray him with the fly spray. I need to keep working on it.

On the same note, Jack simply isn't going to be ready to travel in the Ifor to the clinic this weekend. I'm either going to have to borrow a stock trailer again so that we can enclose him safely or not go at all.