The Rabbit Hole

So you’ve gone down the rabbit hole and you’re incapacitated with uncertainty….

You know how harmful or unhelpful your old way are
But you have no idea what to do, and you’re scared to death to make a mistake

I hear this from students nearly every day. The climate is changing in the horse world, so many people are gravitating toward trying to get along better with their horses. Some folks are becoming interested in posture and movement and maybe feel overwhelmed.

To make matters worse, the average person’s social media feed is chock full of a thousand different programs, each with their own subscription, and all in disagreement with the next one. You have every book and every subscription, but have no idea what to do. What can be done?

Well to start with, I like to think about some advice I got from a drawing teacher. I was staring at an outline I’d made of the model to be drawn, and I was petrified of ruining it. “When you don’t know what to do, do something,” he said. That has stuck with me ever since. Inaction can sometimes be far worse than a mistake, so-

Step 1- just start. Do something, anything. Pick something small and basic and focus on doing that with quality. Even if you end up doing it wrong, you can’t go wrong with becoming more aware of your habits and your horses habits.

Step 2- accept your imperfection. I have a little secret for you- you’ll never be perfect. I’m not perfect, my teachers aren’t perfect. We make mistakes. The biggest difference between a pro and an uncertain amateur is not the mistake making, but the ability to recover, and the confidence to experiment. So quit worrying about making mistakes, because you’re going to anyway.

Step 3- become a master observer of the horse. Even if you don’t know what to do, you can learn a ton from watching the horse. The most important part is changing your muscle memory from old habits to new ones- so if you become a watchful observer of the horse, rather than an auto pilot handler, you’re bound to learn a tremendous amount.

So there you have it. Three simple steps to get the ball rolling- don’t just stand around avoiding your horse forever just because of a little uncertainty. Learning is messy, but, an object in motion stays in motion- so just take one shaky step forward and give it your best.

Photo by Nicole Churilla

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