We have just had an amazing week watching Shane train our horses here in the UK. What an honour! What an experience! What a huge learning curve!
First of all a huge thank you Shane and Meredith for allowing us to be there. As many of us know, horse training events are usually just that with owners dropping their horses off at the start and picking them up again at handover. No owner presence in between. This time they agreed we could watch.
So, there was a small group of us there (essentially those of us having our horses trained and a special guest who was helping with the venue and cooking for us - thank you Tracy - all QS students). We all learnt so much from being there and have come away with a much greater understanding of what Shane has achieved than we would have done if we hadn't been there. I believe we are all much better equipped to maintain the fabulous work he has done and build on it than we would be otherwise.
It was hard at times and wouldn't work if the owners were not fully on board with the programme and fully trusting of Shane. There was a lot of paradigm shifting going on and these are not always easy. Once again, a huge thank you for trusting us to trust you.
So what did we learn? Well, I am still downloading quite a lot so I will add to this thread over the days that follow, I imagine but here are a couple of concepts that have taken on added layers:
- Teach your horse to think by not helping it out so much. As you work through the programme, you pick up more and more skills. The more skills you have, the easier it is to help your horse out. The more you help your horse out, the less it needs to think and work things out. If you don't let your horse work things out, it is just waiting for you to tell it what to do so essentially it is moving from pressure and not to comfort. And of course, a horse that doesn't work things out is not an emotionally fit horse so where does that leave the safety issue?
- It's never about the task. This is a continuation of the first point. It's more about the decision and willingness to do the task. The willingness to try even if the horse doesn't believe it can. The willingness to think. How the horse does the task is a reflection of these things. Once you have the try and the willingness, the softness comes and the range of movement improves.
- The value of seeing the bigger picture. I still need to ponder this one as, at the moment, I am just a bit in awe of Shane! I guess this comes with experience.
It seems so obvious to me seeing it written down but the words have taken on new meaning for me. Like I said, another layer.
What did the rest of you take away from this monumental week?