What did you expect? Don Jessop

What did you expect? Don Jessop

August 25, 2020 7 Comments

This blog post is short and sweet. It's a follow up post from the recent article that so many of you have commented on already titled "Frustration is the enemy."

In that article, I hinted about managing expectations. To be clear, the easiest trick to never getting frustrated is to manage your expectations. If you've ever heard that having high expectations is a good thing, you've been misled. High expectation is a recipe for disaster. I have high standards instead. I don't expect the best, I work toward it. In fact... I expect anything could happen, good or bad. Does that make sense? I certainly don't expect the worst, that would just keep my focus in the gutter. But I don't expect the best, because that keeps my head in the clouds. I expect instead, that anything could happen and put my attention to working on progress and standards.

I can't tell you how many students I've helped with this exact problem. They expect the horse to behave, then the horse doesn't behave, then the student is sad, frustrated, or angry. You never have to feel that way. Don't expect the best anymore. Don't expect your horse to behave anymore. Don't expect your body to adjust to everything all the time. Don't set yourself up for failure that way. Instead, commit to staying through any challenges to end with progress and positivity. Commit to navigating problems instead of being surprised by them. And expect that anything could come up. I'm never surprised when a horse tries rearing, bucking, biting, kicking, or barging. I expect those things. I'm also never surprised when they act and behave perfectly. I expect that too. I like to read the situation in front of me, not set up a bunch of pre-determined guesses about how it should go.

Just two days ago I asked my horse to load on the trailer. He never has trouble loading. Never! But that day, he did. Was I frustrated? No. I knew anything could happen, and it just so happened that he was distracted by a new horse racing up the fence line toward him. Did that bother me, that he was distracted? No! A horse is a horse of course, of course, and I always remember that anything could happen. I instead gave myself a moment and then asked again. Within a few minutes he made his way into the trailer with peace and calm written all over his expressions and we made our way to our favorite trail ride.

Remember this from today's post: Expect anything, good or bad. Don't have high or low expectations, have them both. Remember that what you want, is not to expect your horse to be great but to work toward greatness, moment by moment. With this simple message flowing through your mind, you will become unstoppable in your goals and relationship with your favorite four-legged friend.

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7 Responses

Tracey
Tracey

August 29, 2020

This is me all over, thank u for reminder !!! Trying not to do this with new boy but know one situation that I did. Have been watching since that one time. Thanks

Kelly
Kelly

August 26, 2020

Thank you Don, for another wonderful post. I love how you think about horses. I always learn something new every week. I feel your advice helps me become a better horse woman and in turn that benefits my beautiful horse.

Cynthia Kirsch
Cynthia Kirsch

August 26, 2020

I love that you love my horse. I am learning most of my horsemanship from you and my horse of course. He is a five year old Saddlebred, that I bought for simple pleasure. We have tried many a wrong ideas, and he likes your ways the best. I do have my own learning to do, but as I take part of his life as a horse, I love him more and more. Thank you.

Eileen
Eileen

August 26, 2020

Thank you so much for these wise words Don! I find if I can maintain a sense of humor and joy – what ever happens doesn’t bother me so much. Also – working on not having an emotional attachment to the outcome helps me tons!

Melody Orso
Melody Orso

August 26, 2020

Thank you for the words of wisdom. Managing our Expectations takes the weight off my shoulders and will help us both to relax.

Annie Grace Bassage
Annie Grace Bassage

August 26, 2020

I love your horse sense!
Thanks for sharing such a great gift

Christine Wilford
Christine Wilford

August 26, 2020

THANK YOU!!! You have beautifully articulated what I have tried to explain numerous times, but when I try, it sounds more like a negative outlook on life. I consider this approach, what I call “PREcrastination” (planning for potential contingencies in advance), the key to life, growth and fulfillment.

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