The Guru Syndrome

In the horse world, as in others, there is a desire for people to group in to “camps” and follow someone whose teaching they like. There is nothing wrong with this, until it becomes a blind type of following. People get excited about the ideas of some teacher, and start to believe that person holds the key to their success above all others.

The truth is, there isn’t much new training information out there. We have learned a ton about horses biomechanics, brains, and care and keeping, but the training ideas many of us use are centuries old. Nothing I use on a daily basis I can take credit for. Even if I stumble onto something that works, surely someone before me has thought of it and employed it. I don’t take credit for any methods I employ, or my philosophies. They aren’t unique to me. Of course every person makes them their own and their individual styles effect the results they get.

I think of myself as a teacher, and my job is to help other folks understand how to get along with horses to the best of my knowledge and ability. The thing is, both of those things change constantly. What I think of as good for the horse now might not be the same as next year. My interest is not for folks to “follow me” or take my word as gospel, because I may be wrong. My hope is to give people tools to get along better, observe more, and take it from there. Not to follow my “system,” because it isn’t mine.

The amount of ego in the horse training industry is baffling when you think about It this way, because the credit belongs to the horses we’ve learned from along the way, and the pioneers of horse training throughout the centuries who’s trial and error we stand on. Aside from the amount of personal work we have put in to learn, there is no credit to be had. And as far as skill goes, anyone can have it. The difference between me and the beginner is only hours of practice. They can have it too. I am not more special than anyone else, nor is any expert. Though some folks are more naturally inclined to have good feel, I believe anyone can have it.

So as you’re learning, learn from everyone you can. Take what you wouldn’t do, what you would do, and what you hope you can someday do, and sort through it. But don’t put your teachers on a pedestal, and walk away from anyone who looks down on your skill level. The difference between you and them is only a matter of practice.

One thought on “The Guru Syndrome

  1. Absolutely bang on again ! Simply put and easy to keep in mind everyday regardless of level or discipline! This can hold you in good stead over the years !! I am 71 plus years old & I give credit to all the mentors & coaches & those I even just watched , still today learning & relearning & loving it still !!

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