Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Learning Curve

     I have been involved with horses almost my entire life and since I'm nearing Medicare age, that's a long time!  I've been in the horse business for over 30 years so I've had time to think about many things.  It seems pondering is one of the things I do best.
     I've learned that I really like to help people with their horses and their questions.  Not just about training problems or issues either.  People ask me about everything from feed issues to tack and equipment and everything in between.  It's really neat how informed people want to be - it means they truly care.
     This means I must constantly learn to stay up with new methods, new discoveries, new thoughts and finding solutions to just plain old everyday problems.  This is a very dynamic business, there's so much happening all the time.  Just because "Grandpa did it that way" 40 years ago doesn't mean there's not a better way now.  The horse business encompasses so much area.  I love to converse with my farriers and veterinarians and I talk to other trainers - always getting new ideas, new perspectives and along the way, confirming old ideas as well!
     Becoming a better horseman is about learning, practicing and understanding what you are trying to accomplish.  For instance, when you work your horse, don't just go through the motions.  Instead, consider what you are doing - look for reactions and responses.  Are they what you want?  Be looking for causes and effects.  Self-criticize yourself, not in a negative manner, but in an honest attempt to make every ride a better one and to understand why some things work and why sometimes they don't.  Your horse will teach you if you allow him to.  Your horse is the greatest teacher you will ever have - period. 
     To me, the learning curve means the more you learn and improve, the more you want to learn and improve.  Stay on the curve and you'll do just fine!   See you next week.  JD

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