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When the student is ready the teacher will appear


🙋‍♀️Having an open “beginner mind” with everything in life.


👀Many of us walk around with blinkers on, especially when it comes to our horses/dogs. How many of you, including me, will say “I just need this horse to load into the trailer, then I’ll be happy” or “I just need my horse to lunge calmly”.

When we take the approach for a beginning mind, like a student who is open to learning, curious to watch, listen and happy to take action despite not knowing the outcome. A student is happy and accepts failing.


🙊Many of us approach training our through repetition, however when you feel like you are drilling a monkey, it’s not fun anymore. Our expectations shift and we go from an open mind to wearing a pair of blinkers and our expectation is higher. This is when the danger happens, because it is on us, our horses expectations have not shifted! Suddenly we start thinking thoughts like:


🤷‍♀️“What? Why is he suddenly not wanting to load? Why is he all of a sudden scared of the trailer?”


Instead of thinking….


✅“Okay, this is interesting. Looking at your horse and thinking… what subtle signs have I missed here? “

✅Telling your brain to become and the curious student with an open mind and MOST importantly to drop all of your expectations!!


For some of us it might be that you reach rock bottom, when you feel that you have exhausted all options and nothing has worked out. You feel miserable, sad and overwhelmed. You feel so far removed from where you thought or imagined you would be. When you look at your horse you feel lost and stuck. You are in your head with so many thoughts and feelings and you can’t seem to see a way out. You are sick of feeling and doing whatever it is you are doing. This place, reaching rock bottom is not a bad thing, this can be where it all begins.


Reaching our bottom, is often when people come to me, their last resort. When they have seen everyone else and they I am their only option.


“I might as well, as I don’t seem to have any other option.”


I start with the little things, the behaviours that’s seem insignificant to you.


For example, if when you go to get on your horse they step forwards or backwards, what would you do? What is your thought process?


Would spend an hour (or more) trying to get on your horse?

Would you get frustrated?

Would you get someone else to hold your horse and “make them stand up”?


Or


Would you ask questions, become the student and think:


“Well, this is interesting… what is my horse trying to tell me?”


⚠️If you are ignoring those subtle signs of communication from your horse, then you are ignoring and missing a very important part of what you are perceiving as the problem.  In other words, by the time your horse is moving away from the mounting block, you have created the problem which could manifest/ lead into further confusion, like when your horse bucks or rears under saddle.


All these behaviours that you may perceive as not being a “big deal”, should never be normalised when it comes to our horses. By the time your horse is “walking over you” or refusing to go forward, it is because you have missed all of the subtle signs of communication that your horse is ALWAYS sharing with you.


Another example, is when people say to me:


“I don’t lunge or do groundwork because my horse is tight and anxious on lunge. Whenever we get into the arena he runs through me and ends up motor biking around the arena. What techniques can you give me to solve this problem?”


The way I approach this statement is the same way for any other “problem”


“My horse doesn’t like poles”

“My horse won’t hack”

“My horse walks over in doing groundwork”

“My horse hates it when I put the saddle on”

“It’s normal for my horse to be girthy”

“It’s normal for my horse to move away from me when I put the saddle on.”

“It’s normal for my horse to fall through the inside shoulder”

“It’s normal for my horse to not canter on the right rein, this has always been their weaker rein.”


Why are ANY of these “undesirable” behaviours normal?


It is so easy to blame everything on our horses or even tell ourselves the story that “he\she has always done that, so it’s normal for them.”


What about if we shift our perspective and question everything our horse is doing. Not from a judgement place of what you expect them to be doing, but from a place of curiosity.


🙋‍♀️What if we approached our horses differently? From a beginner student mind. What if all this starts from the moment you walk into the yard, the moment you see you horse.


🙏What if your horse could be relaxed, happy calm, brave, have an understanding of trust. Would you change your perspective?


I make a promise to myself and to every horse or dog that I meet, to be open minded and embrace the student mindset. What does this beginner/ student mind look like?


✅For me, it is having absolutely NO JUDGEMENT, no preconceived thoughts and especially no expectations. To listen to the owner, listen to their story, the history of their horse as they see it, and then to watch, assess and listen to the horse’s body and behaviours. Sometimes I catch myself thinking “right, I can see what the perceived issue is here”, and then I stop myself and think “keep listening and watching with no judgement or expectations.” I take this approach when I am treating as well, because the body is an incredibly adaptable multifunctional unit and 9/10 when I treat one area that I perceive as being the area of restriction/ dysfunction, when I step back, stop and continue to adopt the beginner mindset, something shifts within the horse or dog.


✅We can all adopt this change in perspective when it comes to being around our horses/ dogs. This shift in perspective will get you out of your rock bottom, the place where you feel stuck, lost and overwhelmed.


🙏Remember that your horse or dog doesn’t have a voice. How would you communicate to someone who you relied on for food, water, safety and to tell them when you are in pain or discomfort?


🙏Whatever you are perceiving as a struggle with your horse/ dog, I invite you to STOP, to not put more pressure on yourself or the horse, to step into the beginner mindset, to ask yourself curious questions and most importantly to keep listening to your horse/ dog’s subtle changing in behaviour, because when the student is ready the teacher will appear.


🐴Your horse/ dog is your greatest teacher🐶


A big thank you to the content that Warwick Schiller & Ty Murray- you both inspired this post.


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