The Ugly, The Bad, and The Good
Here's an interesting clip with Maia and me...it shows the ugly, the bad, and the good of what can happen in the span of a few minutes. It also shows that context is everything.
For example, if you didn't know me or my horses, and you saw the first five seconds of the clip, you could jump to all manner of ugly conclusions about me, my poor horse, etc.
If you saw the last few seconds of the clip without knowing me or my horses, you might think I am a brilliant horse trainer and communicator and Maia always lifts her legs like a ballerina over the poles.
This is why I don't enjoy social media to watch short clips of perfection or failure from people I do not know or have not studied in person or online. Because I do not know the context (the whole truth, as it were) and therefore have no way of knowing what went into what I am watching.
In my case, and in the case of this particular clip, here's how I see it.
In all that I do I try to bring the best of who I am, but part of that means I must be a truth teller; I cannot pretend to see roses when there are thorns, especially if I am responsible for teaching you to bloom or the goal we are trying to achieve requires that both of us understand our roles. Some days I am more positive and supportive and patient, and these days are GREAT. But, I am a fallible human and some days are not as good, and so I may take offense at something my horse does or does not do (like in this clip). The beauty is I have learned to not stay long in a negative state, to return to a place of calm connection, and to always finish on a positive note (also in this clip!).
(As a related aside, please note that I am careful to not work my horses if I think I am not in a balanced emotional state and therefore more prone to emotional explosions! On such an occasion I stay away from all living creatures until I am centered once again!)
It is clips like this one that make me think about what I could have done better to make my horse feel and do better. I then go out next time and am more mindful of my movements, my emotional state, my reactions. I call myself out on things I should not be doing and watch my horse as a barometer of how well I am doing that day. Then, when I am back at home, I watch the video and see how well I actually did. Or did not. And it’s back to the drawing board!
Yes, in horse training, patience is of the essence, and a calm inner state is key. I have been working diligently to master my own thoughts, emotions, and movements so as to become a better trainer of horses and a better human—this will definitely be a life-long project!
P.S. Thank goodness my horses truly know me well--they know if I am upset in my own life and thus getting a bit impatient (and they come to comfort me); they also know if they are causing it, and, sometimes, they provoke me just to then be perfect little angels. It's an interesting dynamic, for sure! I mean, look at Maia in this clip--in the end, she does EXACTLY what I had been asking for and with perfect posture, etc. I might never have gotten her to feel that posture and feel her legs and hooves if I hadn't upped my energy a bit, right? I think sometimes upping energy is good--I just want to keep anger out of it!