Training should produce horses with self confidence and self control.

When I picture a great horse, in any discipline, my mind always shows me the image of a horse with great self control. Confident. Strong. Steady.

It is what I admired about the horse in the Black Stallion book and movies. It wasn’t about breaking his spirit…it was about understanding each other and both horse and human using their own unique strengths.

When stranded on the beach it was the boy’s knowledge that fed them…and the stallions strength that saved him (remember the snake?). Later on it was the stallions trust of the boy that allowed the rescue of the stallion. The examples continue throughout the story and throughout life.

I have seen horses that have been broken. They are robots. Some win at shows. Some are dumped when they fail out of the system. Some are unpredictable as they mentally jump between acting as a robot and acting out of fear…they can’t help it if they were not trained with understanding. These horses do not have self control. They are trying to survive.

The horses I admire the most have been shaped and trained but not broken. They have been shaped by knowable hands, disciplined and corrected, but also allowed to remain themselves. They have self confidence AND self control.

Which one are you more like?

Are you going through life doing what the world tells you is right but feeling like a robot? Or are you moving through life, the good and the bad parts, and becoming more confident as you go?

Or maybe it would be easier to answer this question; Do you spend more time in fear or in confidence?

Maybe now is a good time for a real-life example. Did you notice that I went missing from the internet for quite awhile? Or maybe you noticed that I wasn’t showing up as often as I did before on your Facebook feed? Or maybe you are just noticing now…

I was on a self prescribed sabbatical from the internet.

I loved blogging and posting to Facebook. I loved answering questions and receiving feedback. There was a lot that I loved about the internet.

But I also found stress. People are not always kind in their comments. I became obsessed with watching the numbers. Of challenging myself to do better. Of doing more, more, more….

Until one day I realized that I had lost my self control. Sure, it looked good because ‘the numbers’ were good…but I could feel that I was motivated more by fear than by confidence. Fear that the next post wouldn’t be better than the last. Fear that someone would write something nasty. Fear, fear, fear.

And I could feel it creeping into other areas of my life. Because that is how it works with people and with horses. Whichever state of mind we spend most of our time in, is who we become.

So I challenged myself to step away. I will not be able to train a horse to be better than I am. I must challenge myself as often and as much as I challenge my horses.

I am happy that I am more balanced again. I still have the knowledge I gained but now I have greater self control. I feel more confident. Stronger. Steady.

Go figure, self confidence and self control go hand-in-hand.

I have no doubt that I will have bad days and slip. My horses do too. But making mistakes is ok. Receiving correction and instruction is good too and it is something I enjoy.

I’m looking forward to this year! Are you?

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