Be Wary of Possessive Instructors
When you hear your instructor say "Don't go spend you money on that clinic!" or "Don't take a lesson with her or him!" Take a deep breath and recognize your instructor is being possessive.
It's a chronic problem in the horse industry. A phenomenon really. Instructors seem to think once you spend money with them, they are your new guru. They even get offended if you study with someone else. They take it personally, as if you don't love them or something. But the truth is, horse owners need to be free.
I can't tell you how many times I've taught a clinic in a new area, only to have one of my students say, "My instructor told me not to come to your class." I always ask. "Well... are you having a good time, are you learning what you need to know?" The answer is always "Yes."
I can also relate how, many times, I've had my students tell me about an upcoming clinic with another instructor. Sometimes I can't tell if they're telling me because they are nervous or because they are excited. Either way, I always tell them to go. Because you learn things everywhere you go. Learning is the key. Sometimes I know they are going to learn what "not" to do instead and I may even warn them about the things that could take place. I may even explain the value of consistency to ensure that when they do take lessons with another instructor, they must continue to work on the foundation skills with their horse. But I still encourage the experience. I always encourage the experience unless I know first hand that the instructor is abusive.
In my opinion, mastery is about learning every aspect in a category. It's not a singular endeavor. It's an all encompassing endeavor. Therefore, it's important for horse owners to experience what's in their heart, not mine. I don't mind seeing people take the long safe road to success. I love to see people cross over disciplines and techniques and ultimately find their own style, in their own time. As long as they care about the animals experience, I don't mind where they go, what they do, who they want to study with. What I care about is safety, progress, and fun for both people and horses.
The crazy cool thing is, how students keep coming back for more lessons and clinics and courses with me because I don't hold them so tight. I even encourage new personal growth and they always feel welcome or even at home in my classes.
It's true that many people can't afford to take multiple classes or clinics every year and that's one of the reasons instructors fight so hard to keep clients, but the reality is, people need to do what people need to do. If I could advise instructors, I'd say, "Stay true to your values, and don't be possessive. Don't discourage learning from others." If I could advise students, I'd say, "The world is yours. Discover. Explore. Learn. I'll be here when you need me."
I hope you get what you want out of life and your horse experiences. Life is too short to live in scarcity and under possessive personalities. Be true to yourself. Enjoy yourself and your direction. Be open. Live your dreams with horses!
Don Jessop - the breakthrough guy