Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Part Two - Enabling and its Pitfalls!

It may be helpful to read Part One first, you can do that by clicking here.

I'd like to give an example of what I am talking about, by fessing up to my own mistake. When I first started working with Pippi by myself, she made me nervous on the lunge line. She would pull rather hard, and hop about, tossing her head, and coming closer to me. It made me nervous, and I felt as though she was being aggressive towards me. One day my Trainer happened to be in the barn as we were warming up on the lunge, and I asked her about this behavior. Trainer offered to lunge her, and gave me a "how to lunge" lesson. Pippi acted just the same with her initially, and I asked if it was aggressive behavior. Oh no, she said, Pippi is just full of herself and playing around a bit. "This is normal, does not bother me." She showed me to how to be more effective, and after that our lunge line warm ups were a breeze. Pippi still throws her head, hops a bit, and puts on her "I'm a Bad Ass" face when we first start, but now I know that it is just playful and it does not scare me. I even laugh and tease her about her "Bad Ass self."
Without that instruction two things could have happened; I could have lunged with no objective as I was scared to contain Pippi due to her perceived anger, or I could have become very heavy handed in trying to contain the anger. The anger that was not even present!

So that is one example of how we think we "read" our partners so well, but may in fact see it all wrong. Someone with a broader experience, and whose heart and soul is not tied into this horse, may just have the objective eye we need.

Next time I will give an example of how this may play out in a public setting, such as a horse show or clinic.

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