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Don Jessop

I'm not as brave as I once was, I've been injured, I've grown older, but now I'm a whole lot wiser. Not as wise as I'd like to be, like the people I look up to, but I've certainly traded some of my bravery for a little wisdom. Perhaps you've done the same. Perhaps you know someone, who you wish would do the same. Bravery is an important aspect of any activity in life, no doubt. But wisdom can be even more powerful when it comes to communicating with our four legged, wild at heart, equine friends.

For instance... I don't get on a horse just cause someone else says the horse is "trained or ready." I test the horse's individual responses to simple suggestions and see just how "trained" trained is. If you're new to horses you might not know what to test for. I can teach you.

I don't push a horse beyond his limits just because I think he's being obstinate. I used to. I used to be quick to blame the horse for one thing or another and then get a little too quick or harsh in my corrections. But now... I usually don't chalk up anything as obstinate behavior. Think about it. Is your horse not doing it because he/she knows what you want and chooses not to? Sure, sometimes that's correct and easily misread as obstinate. But there's one other element to consider... Does he/she know why you want it?

When you ask a horse to do something and they say, "I don't want to do this!" What they're really saying is "Why do you want me to do this?" And if you don't have an answer, you're going to go straight to thinking he/she is being obstinate and choose dangerous techniques to correct. Possibly dangerous for you. Most certainly dangerous for the progress of your trusting relationship with that horse.

Me, on the other hand, at least this older/wiser version of me, doesn't go straight to obstinate. Instead I choose to say, "My horse is acting confused. He/she clearly doesn't understand why I want this, why I think this is so important. Let me slow down and clear things up."

Check out my BEST intentions model inside the free mastery home study course to learn more about how to answer when your horse says, "why are we doing this?"

I also don't let people ride my horse without testing that person's skills with basic things first. Recently a group of young men arrived at my door to learn about horses. They all said they've had some horse experience and when asked what they expected to happen in a horse lesson, they all said they would probably saddle and ride. I don't work that way anymore. Years ago I spent time with an incredible dolphin trainer in Florida. She implanted a process of learning that impacted both the dolphin and the new person that showed up to learn about dolphins in a positive and progressive way. "Most animal participation lessons are about the people," she said. "We have to make sure it's about the dolphin too. Otherwise the dolphin will literally resent the experience and sooner or later, stop participating happily."

Of course, the other reason I don't let people just get on, is the same reason I don't just get on myself. I want to help the new rider develop their communication and connection skills in each lesson, and not just their pulling and kicking skills.

I believe I could go on about all the small bravery lessons I traded for wisdom lessons, such as choosing to wear a helmet, but I also believe the wiser thing to do is keep things small, short, simple and succinct. If I'm truly being honest. I want you to know this was never about my story anyway. I want to hear from you. What's your story. What lessons have you learned that make you wiser today? Have you learned a new technique that makes you better? Have you let go of an old way that doesn't work as good as you thought? I want to hear your comments below.

As always, thanks for reading, and comment below. 

Blessings to you in this new year! Don

Don Jessop - Blog Welcome

Hi! I'm Don Jessop

With Mastery Horsemanship

I write to inspire, educate and encourage you on your horse and personal journey.

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