Today’s post is going to be a little different from usual for a couple of different reasons as will become clear as you read it.
It’s a topic that’s not much talked about in the horse world but one I believe to be hugely important when it comes to the relationship you share with your horse.
I was inspired to write it after watching a video on YouTube of a conference keynote speech on the topic of success, where the presenter said to the audience that they all had the “minimum requirements”.
The minimum requirements for what?
I’ll tell you in a moment but first let me give you some context.
Most people who come to my clinics are looking for two things with their horse:
1) A close partnership
2) To get their horse to do what they want when they ask
This always seems to be the balancing act they are trying to achieve and many believe that you can’t have both at the same time.
Their thinking goes something along the lines of: “they’ve tried and not succeeded in getting their horse’s attention and cooperation, so they let this part of their goal slip and console themselves with getting as close to their horse as possible”.
The trouble with this approach however is that the horse recognizes that the human is not in control and is not able to protect him, so he ends up making his own rules which then leads to disharmony and neither party gets what they really want.
And when I explain that you can have both when you go about developing the relationship the right way, I often get back that they don’t believe that they have sufficient skills/knowledge/ability to be a good horse person anyway.
So why do they say this?
Because they have the proof that they don’t…
- They’ve tried the X Technique and that didn’t work.
- They’ve tried doing Strategy Y and that only sort of partly worked.
- They’ve even tried the Z Stick and that didn’t work for them either.
And they know all of these things must work because they’ve seen other people succeed with them.
QED, they obviously don’t have what it takes to be a good horse person.
And that’s the story they tell themselves.
So back to that YouTube video when the presenter said…
“You all meet minimum requirements.”
The minimum requirements for what though?
You have the “Minimum Requirements” for whatever it is that you want to do. That is what he meant.
You want to be a good horse person?
Congratulations, you have the minimum requirements to do that.
You want to be the best possible human partner for your horse?
Yes, you can do that too.
That’s the good news and now it’s up to you and the narrative you tell yourself.
Because the job that we all have, in the face of our failures, is to construct a narrative about these that moves us forward, not backwards.
We have to find a way to lift ourselves up despite all the mistakes we’ve made, because everyone makes them.
Because if we don’t, the constant, negative self-talk will slowly erode our sense of self and it’s very hard to come back from that.
But when you understand that you can always make a different choice and get a different result, then things begin to open up for you.
Let’s be clear, this is not some woo-woo, new age notion, it’s psychological conditioning.
If you are physically capable of achieving something that others can do, then it’s all up to you and how much you want it.
Your job therefore is to get clarity on what you want, who you need to become to get there, and then construct a narrative to fit that.
What you will then discover is that there is a gap that you need to close and that there is a skill set you need to acquire order to do it.
And that gap, the chasm, that stands between where you are today and where you want to go just comes down to the ‘price’ you are willing to pay to get there.
But here’s the really good news…
If you can answer ‘yes’ to the question, “Did I give it my all today?” as you work through the process, then you’re already a winner because you doing what you love plus you left it all out on the field – literally!
I’d like to close with a phrase you’re probably familiar with, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
However I prefer the quote from Winston Churchill who said, “Success is going from failure to failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”
Hope that’s given you hoofs (instead of pause!) for thought.
If so, reply in the comments and let me know…
By the way, I’ve just put the finishing touches to a new online Masterclass Training Video that is FREE for you and I’d love you to join me for it here:
And here is the youtube video I was talking about earlier: