Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, February 27, 2010 09:13 PM
Emotions are vital part of our nature. Without them we cannot really analyze all the information we receive. They help us to process and store this information. On the other hand emotions can over power us and stop us from making good decisions at the right time, cloud our mind and distort our perception. Emotions are responsible for our attitudes. Ability to be in control of your emotions is very important in training horses, especially, youngsters. Young horses are very emotional themselves, everything is a big deal to them. They often overreact and do not know how to behave. They can be very inconsistent and act as a grown up one day and be total goofballs or even jerks the other day. This can very easily lead to emotionally driven responses which have absolutely no connection with reality and can confuse and frighten a young horse. To make things even more complicated a trainer can have an underlying issues that can surface in emotional responses. These issues can be fear of being physically hurt, fear of failure, pressure of future potential, financial pressure and so on. It is not helpful to ignore or even be afraid of your emotions and try to hide them. Look at them as a sign or a symptom of a problem. They can be very helpful in sorting things out.
It has been a month since Santo has arrived home. I have been keenly watching him and learning about his character and behavior. I have started working with him by bringing him into my barn for the night three times a week, doing simple leading exercises with him, tying him up and grooming him including picking up his feet and I started ponying him while riding his chaperon, a 12-year-old Appendix QH. Looking back I'm very pleased with how Santo took in his new environment, new requirements and new life. However, my emotional response to his progress wasn't adequate. At first I started noticing a huge difference in my mood and my state of mind after each working session with Santo. One day I think of him as being brilliant and I love him to pieces and next time I question the whole thing about taking on a project like that. I was surprised to see myself on such emotional roller coaster. I started digging in to find where all these emotions are coming from. It took me a while to understand the true nature behind them. I have realized I have been very sentimental when it comes to my new horse and I have put too much pressure on his future. I haven't have a horse for three years now and Santo is the most talented horse I have owned to this day. On one hand I am afraid to screw up even though I have enough experience. On the other hand I cannot wait to ride him and already see myself going down a centerline in our future dressage shows. This is not a good cocktail of emotions to start working with a young horse. It has been a few days since I have realized the true motives. This realization was a good half-halt for me. I have significantly calmed down and started seeing things more as they are. I look at Santo now and I see a nice young horse with possibly bright future who needs time and careful work to grow up and develop into dependable riding horse. I focus on living in the moment and on building a good foundation of trust, respect and skills that Santo needs for his career as a riding horse.
Do not try to hide or ignore your emotions, they are there for a reason. Treat them as a good source of information about yourself. Bravely dig in and see what you discover...
Happy riding...
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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