"It's me. I know it's me. I'm just a failure. A worthless know-nothing."
Oops! Maybe, you can stop listening to that useless inner voice!
You are not worthless. You are not an idiot. You are not a failure. You are simply stuck in a pattern of beating yourself up. Patterns can be broken. Even if you're not a horse person, you can relate to this article. But in case you are a horse person, there are some things you need to know...
First of all, you need to know that you're horse doesn't know everything! He's learning too. Who told you your horse knows everything anyway? They don't! They don't know much at all in fact. Unless they have between 200 to 500 hours of consistent, progressive training with a clear leader, they don't know how to be perfect around people. So when you make the assumption that your horse knows what you want, or worse, that your life knows what you want from you, you are making a grave mistake about the world at large. Your life, just like your horse, needs training too. Your mind needs training. So get on with the training, and please, stop beating yourself up.
Speaking of what horses know, this is how I categorize the training and realistic expectations of knowledge. This could help you understand what it takes for horses to truly learn something. There are four stages, and here they are.
The Beginning: A horse that has between 10-20 hours training with a master trainer, knows just enough to safely walk, trot, and canter for that master trainer, in a controlled environment. Not for just any person, and definitely not in any new environment.
The Foundation: A horse that has between 20-200 hours training with a master, knows enough to walk, trot, and canter safely, in controlled environments for intermediate or advanced riders. At this stage you can forget about flying lead changes or piaffe and passage. The horse doesn't know how to do those things yet. (But you might say, "My horse can do flying lead changes. I've seen him do them in the field." It's true. But did you know he doesn't know exactly what he's doing, let alone how to do it when responding to a signal with a rider?) Horses don't know as much as we give them credit. Stop blaming yourself for what your horse is doing and start teaching yourself and your horse without all the pressure of perfection. Neither of you need it!
The Advanced Stage: A horse that has between 200-500 hours training with a master, knows enough to walk, trot, and canter safely and proficiently, with just about any novice or elite rider, in just about any environment. This is the kind of horse most of us dream about, but never get to experience. Because this horse either costs too much to acquire, or costs too much to train. But, through my mastery programs, you can learn to train your horse to this level by yourself. Check out the programs.
The Mastery Stage: A horse that has between 500-2000 hours training with a master, knows enough to perform at the highest levels of competition or artistry. These horses can perform tempi-lead changes, piaffe, passage, half passes, pirouettes, spins, slide stops, jumping, lying down, rearing up, and every thing else you can imagine, in any environment, in any group of horses. The more hours they get in each activity, the more consistent they become, which allows even novice riders to activate the same artistry. This is truly a rare horse. I call this level the Masters Level. My Mastery programs will lead you directly to this level. check it out here
Now... on the subject of you, and why you should stop the pattern of beating yourself up, if that is a pattern for you. Understand, there are three things to consider beyond the fact that your horse isn't perfect already.
Number one: Your expectation of your own ability to learn something is usually way out of whack. Did you know... the best trainers in the world, don't look for daily progress. Sometimes, they don't even look for weekly progress. Progress is most often measured monthly. It's not fair to assume your own body and mind will be better every single day. Your brain has to reset, re calibrate, re-think every one of your experiences. Some days will not be as good as others. Masterful trainers expect imperfect progress. They work on a longer timeline and so can you. Start with small things, and build on them. Don't expect your brain, and the rest of your life, to line up perfectly, every single day.
Number two: Your word patterns are creating your feeling patterns. I'm not talking about horses at all, in this context. I'm talking strictly about your own internal patterns that you've developed in your life. Did you know that your horse is learning from you, all the time, whether or not you intentionally train it. It learns what you allow and don't allow. And smart horses take advantage of it. Your brain is the same way. It's constantly learning from you. It's learning what you allow and don't allow. It's learning your level of discipline, and then it decides, moment to moment, on how much it can get away with. I want you to think of your brain, just like you think of a horse in training. Your brain, is not you. It's a part of you that supports other parts of you. You, are in fact able to speak to your brain, using real words. And will respond to you, or ignore you, depending on how well you've trained it.
Did you know a well disciplined fighter can tell his brain to calm down... and it will! Why can't you tell your brain to calm down, or tell your brain to support you in a new venture, or tell your brain to stop the negative chatter? Answer: You can!
How many hours training did it take for this fighter to be able to command such compliance from his brain? Answer: Probably between 200-500 hours.
"Wait just a minute?" you might say. "I've been alive a whole lot longer than that. Why don't I have that kind of discipline?" Answer: Being alive, and progressive training are two different things. Life happens, training is planned, thought out, mapped, prepared, rewarded, and recorded. If you want your mind and body, and your life in general, to improve. You have to train it!
Number three: You need compelling goals! This is one reason I love the horse training programs that are progressive, like the way Mastery Horsemanship Levels are designed. It gives you a reason to get up and try new things. It gives you vision. It gives you reason. Plus, as a metaphor for life, learning to lead and guide a horse through a progressive program, begins to affect the way you lead and guide your own life. This is one reason many people have horses. It's like a school for leadership. If you can learn to advance with a horse, you can learn to advance with your life. I've seen this concept proven time after time with my most advanced students. You can do it to.
In summary. If you want to stop beating yourself up, start learning new things, and stop assuming you should, or your horse should, already know it. Begin to believe that all things are learned, and not intuitive. Begin to believe that you are capable. Begin to believe, that when you take a step forward, there will be a support mechanism in place to help you take that step forward. That's what we're here for.
Join us at Mastery Horsemanship.com and learn to lead.