The value in a good cowboy story

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Years ago I rode in a colt starting clinic and left ecstatic with the progress my little filly had made. In 3 days she had gone from touchy and fearful to calm and fluid. I remember hearing someone complain about how the clinician talked too much, and they wished they had gotten more done.

I thought about the clinic and how my filly had experienced something, been afraid, sorted It out, and sat while the clinician told a story. Then we moved on, and repeated this cycle.

For me, and for this horse, there was a value in sitting around for a few moments. It wasn’t wasted time, but time well spent. I remember watching a road to the horse competition where a clinician said he was going to use the time his horse was resting after bucking the saddle for quite some time to desensitize It, and proceeded to pull out a leaf blower while that horse stood there, too tired to move and too checked out to even register It. Everything in that deal was rushed, and he had the horse going in a few days, but with a swishy tail and pinned ears. How does that benefit anyone?

There is value in silence. There is value in a break. There is value in taking your time with a horse and there is nothing wrong with taking a step back. Progress is not always linear, you can go up and down and sideways and you can take a break and listen to a story while your horse sorts out what he thought was going to kill him but didn’t.

I have no problem taking a break, or going slow, or listening to a great cowboy story. It isn’t wasting my time or my horses’.

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