I failed today!

I failed today!

December 18, 2017 7 Comments

I FAILED TODAY! By Don Jessop

I tried. I really truly did. But I didn't make it. I failed, and here is why.

I thought I had enough time. I was wrong. I'm embarrassed to even be writing about it. But I just read an amazing book about failure and success. In the book, the author (Jon Acuff) talks about dealing with failure by saying, "This too shall post!" Notice the word "post" instead of "pass." In other words, when he fails he writes about it. He shares it, not just because it's real and helpful for others, but because it's helpful for him to let it pass.

So here I am. Posting about my failure. I suppose I should just get on with it then... 

I was giving a lesson for a new student. The horse was behaving poorly and I was running out of time. The horse wouldn't respond the way I had hoped or expected after about forty minutes of training. It was a simple enough task, but there were too many factors blocking our progress. Nonetheless, I persisted. I thought the horse would give in, and I could end on a positive note. I was wrong. 

The horse simply could not let go of his distractions. He could not focus. Had I had more time I could have made the impression I wanted. Alas, I didn't have any more time, and I failed him, and my student. As my time rapidly approached zero, I started looking for something positive to end on. Anything at all. Even a simple moment to pet my horse and let him know I'll be back tomorrow. After years of training, I know that even when things go differently than expected, all I have to do is find something good to finish on and the next day will prove better. 

The challenge on this particular day was that I knew I wouldn't be back to help the student accomplish the goal. She'd be on her own. I gave her my phone number, and told her to call, but I don't think she will. She seemed disappointed in the lesson. Her expectations were not met and she's a sensitive type that may never try again, if she fails once. I hope she can break through, I hope she can reach out. I hope she doesn't give up. But I'm also heartbroken that I couldn't get through. It's a passion of mine to serve. Yet I feel I have failed. 

But don't count me out yet. I'm not one for quitting. And I'm not quitting on my students. I'll be reaching out to her soon. It it were my horse, I'd be back the very next day, looking for one ounce of progress. In fact, if it were my horse, I would have gone slower from the start. Not pushed so hard for big results on day one. Often as a teacher, I'm limited for time and want to get as much done as possible to serve. Sometimes it backfires. But I'm still here, and I'll be here tomorrow. I hope my readers will too. I hope you don't give up. I hope you persist for the results you want with your horse. (or your life)

Thank you for your support

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7 Responses

Charlene Foley
Charlene Foley

December 28, 2017

I always learned from my many failures. I learned what didn’t work and how to have a different approach to communicate in smaller, more subtle ways, that were less offensive to my horse. My reflection on my failures, helped me " see through my horses eyes." It made me a better partner for my horse. Whether we feel failure or not, we are always learning, and adapting to the horse that presents itself on any given day. It sounds like the lesson the owner should glean is that her horse needs more time, a slower, very clear approach, longer period in between to absorb what just transpired. I don’t think it is your fault at all. I think you both learned through the horse’s reaction, that this horse needs more time. That was the lesson for that day. Now, she needs to come back with her horse and try again. Its hard work and a huge gift to us as humans when a horse begins to trust us enough, to become their partner, but it is so worth the trials and tribulations, when it finally happens. She needs to have faith and persevere. Thank you for all you do Don.

Susan
Susan

December 23, 2017

I don’t consider it a failure because there were so many components to the situation. We need to keep the expectations of both teacher, student and horse in check ~ a reality check. Hopefully, the student sees this as an opportunity to see the holes and where to start to work from and progress with your help. Thanks for giving us food for thought. Merry Christmas and Happy 2018!

Traceylynn Hommel
Traceylynn Hommel

December 22, 2017

" I know that even when things go differently than expected, all I have to do is find something good to finish on and the next day will prove better. "
Don, that is the most profound, simply put, way of summing up the situation, and don’t beat up on yourself.

Holly
Holly

December 20, 2017

Thank you for sharing such an honest post Don. I hope your student will read your sincerity and give you a call. I can say from experience as recent as yesterday that her horse will thank her!

Nancy
Nancy

December 19, 2017

Thank you Don~ your post a gift! As teachers our passion is to “succeed” of course ~ experience the win/ win! Yet that’s just not always reality and sometimes we do fail. The bigger lesson~ when the inevitable happens ~ is to learn from it and move on, not get stuck! I hope your student reads your post, realizes how fortunate she is to have a truthful teacher, and Christmas amazement touches you all~
Horsemanship….is life! Ups, downs, successes, failures ~ glorious when we can see it all through the right lense!
Merry Christmas!!❤?

MARILEE DONOVAN
MARILEE DONOVAN

December 19, 2017

As I prepare to teach two lessons to our volunteers for a therapeutic riding program for Veterans, this post is perfect. I will try to set goals that are realistic for the two 2 hour sessions and not expect more of them and the horses than is possible. And I will try to convey these ideas to them so that they can think of them when working with our horses and Veterans. You always give me something to think about. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and Rachel and Shona and the horse family.

susan Beavis
susan Beavis

December 19, 2017

Enjoyed reading your article as always gives me food for thought. I think that these experiences just make us more aware of the diversity in the horses and the humans that we deal with and give us the chance to grow even more. Thank you for sharing.

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