I remember training my first horse. I didn’t enjoy it and I blamed the horse for all of our problems. I was a teenager, and you know how that goes, a lot of muscle and only a little patience. I don’t know if the frustration on my part would have been the same if I had broke my first horse as an adult. What I do know, is that at least I had enough sense to learn from my ignorance.
The lessons I learned from training my first horse I take with me for the rest of my career with horses. Here are the most important lessons I learned.
- It’s not the horse’s fault, it’s my fault.
- The horse is a reflection of myself.
- If the horse can’t understand me, I am the one with the problem and I need to find a solution.
- I need to problem solve, and not keep doing the same thing over and over if it’s not working.
- Enjoy the journey and don’t be frustrated with the learning process. You only ever train your first horse once.
- Stay relaxed, calm, and soft.
- The horse wants to learn so it’s my job to be a good teacher.
- When I think I know it all, I know nothing.
- When there is a problem, there is a hole in my training and I need to go back and find it. Example: if the horse won’t lift his shoulder at the jog, I better go back build up the horse’s strength to lift his shoulder at the walk.
The best part is, once you get that first horse trained, the rest should be easy. Learn from your mistakes, relax, keep learning and move on.