According to the Oxford American Dictionary of Current English, the definition of a guide is: "A person who leads or shows the way, or directs the movements of a person or group".
All of the people I work with have various degrees of accomplishment in the horse world. Some more, some less, some have a long list and some a list that's still growing. But, all of "my" people have a very good grasp of horsemanship. They cannot be hoodwinked with bad ideas or just plain gobbeldy-gook. It's why I enjoy them all so much. I try to make them all into better horsemen and they make me a better horseman and teacher. God bless each of my "students"!
So often with my more accomplished riders, I see my role as a guide rather than a teacher. My role is to set examples and show them ways towards their goals and lead them down paths that have been successful for me. My job as guide is also to help them avoid pitfalls that I have either fallen into myself or have seen trip up others. I try to help my riders avoid the errant paths that I see some others so willfully go down....
At this point in my career, I'm not into controlling other people's actions or decisions. That makes everything so difficult and often causes clients much frustration. Instead, I try to give my riders enough information and background so that they can make up their own minds and make their own decisions. I give them the best advice I possibly can and I don't ever want to discourage anyone, but I do want all of my people to be realistic. Realistic evaluations and realistic goals prevent everyone from being disappointed or frustrated. Sometimes though, I find that my job as their guide is to nudge them back onto a successful path when they have made an unrealistic decision or, say - want too much, too fast, from their horse.
So, I continue to guide, and I hope lead by example as well as by advice. I want everyone to be successful but even more importantly, I want everyone to be the best they can be. That's my personal goal! Talk to you next week, JD.