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Don Jessop

What you see happening may not be what is actually happening.

Renown scientists from all over the world didn't do a study on this problem of perception. What they didn't find was astounding. In the study, nine out of ten people believed they could see their reality precisely and accurately. Which is interesting given the study never actually happened. ūü§Ē

In one test case, subjects were asked to describe the measurable signs of tension in a horse just before it started bucking in a short, pre-filmed video. They were given a score card describing two qualities from head tossing, to tight abdominal muscles, and they were asked to check the ones they saw expressed in the horse. All subjects, after watching the video several times, checked both boxes. A third line asked the question, "Would you feel confident there are no other noticeable signs? Circle Yes or No." Nine out of ten chose to circle "Yes," indicating there were, in fact, no other pre-buck signs in spite of the fact there were more than a dozen notable signs of tension pre-buck. When the data came back and the results quantified... Nine out of ten people proclaimed to see everything pertaining to the exercise, when only one of ten professed there was more to see, including, a sudden tightening of the chin, a flash hardening of the eye, and more.

What this fake study indicates is that we think we see everything when, in actuality, we don't. There are dozens of factors that could be calculated into any experience giving rise to exercise more grace towards each other's experiences. So... in case this metaphorical study doesn't express reality clearly enough, let me expound.

Don't say you know what's going on. If you do that, you automatically position yourself as the biggest fool in the ring. Because, without any doubt, there are factors you are unaware of. Even expert trainers understand this phenomenon and step back to analyze reality more often than novices. Because the minute you say you know something, that's a trigger phrase for digging deeper to make sure you're not missing something else. If you lean into that certain knowledge, that you know everything, you might find evidence you're right, but never look for evidence that there is more to the story. Some people would rather be right... than hungry for more.

So. Final notes. When a horse does something, you don't like, don't assume you know or can tell or see everything behind it. Just the other day a horse wouldn't cross the steam for a new student. She began yelling at the horse, telling him "You know better!" And in her frustration, she could not see the truth. When you think you know, that's your sign to look deeper into the unknown. What is really going on? Is there more? ABSOLUTELY! Her horse could have been afraid, temporarily blinded by the sun, shocked by something that happened moments before, internally frustrated and confused, instinctively herd bound, maybe, his dog ate the homework. The point is... assuming you know, or the horse knows, is dangerous territory.

Once I heard this saying while attending a leadership seminar for business folks. The speaker said. "The three most dangerous words in the English language are...'I know that.'" It stuck with me. What if instead of saying "I know that" I say "interesting, something is new here... unexpected."? That's why horses are challenging and interesting. The point is, once again. Don't assume anything. It leads to horrible expectations and bad communication.

One other saying that always stuck with me was this... "when you break down the word assume, you get an "ass" out of "u" and "me." So... let's try to see a little more. Always opening to new ideas, new techniques, old techniques done better, new tools, old tools revised to be safer, more natural. You name it, stay open. See more, experience more. Have fun along the way! 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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Don Jessop


Don opened up a community, full of people on the same journey you are!
To share LIVE Q&A's and help people and horses transform Confidence.

Don Jessop


Don shares his  passion for writing with his passion for helping horse owners see the horse and themselves for who they truly are.

Don Jessop


Don believes every horse owner should have access to the Principles of Horsemanship and he shares them freely here.

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