Blocked on all sides of the brain! I've been writing posts on breaking down the reining maneuvers, and how to practice them at home for the show pen. Team WPH, has since taken a trip to the NRHA East Central Affiliate Regionals, held some clinics, and had a full slate of lessons. Now, I am back and working on the blog, again. Yet, I have hit a mental road block on the topic.
I've been riding horses for a long, long time. I've started more horses than I can count. I've ridden well bred horses, poorly bred horses, bad minded ones, mean ones, had problematic horses, pleasant horses; I have quite the list. I have so many experiences notched in my belt that I have developed the muscle memory - physically and mentally - to instinctively respond to whatever is happening with each horse that I am working with. I can answer questions about riding and training from just conversations, alone. I've been doing this a long time, and I have a pretty good understanding of horses' behaviors.
I say all of this, because this mental road block I'm experiencing, could be a result of not having to think about every action I make. Training horses day in and day out, for my livelihood, hasn't made me complacent, but I can't always put into words every step to every scenario. Sometimes my brain just does the actions, but can't express them in writing.
It can be like driving a car in many ways. Some days you drive near the guy who runs you off the road, or the other guy who wants to ride your fender through town, or maybe you just find a great parking spot at the steak house. Our bodies and minds respond and react to in-the-moment situations, and if we tried to collect every account it's not always easy.
I truly enjoy training horses; I enjoy teaching folks how to have a better relationship with their horses; and, I am reminded that I am still learning, myself. My wife asked me (in our dating days) "how long 'til you learn how to become a horse trainer?" My reply was "the rest of my life." How true this is for everyone who lives with horses. She didn't run away after that sentence, thankfully, and it's the truth. Any horseman will say the same thing.
Right at this moment, I feel that I am in a transition phase, of sorts. Stephen Hawking said, "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change." This is a response in horses, as well. People and horses aren't that much different. The horse whisperer character, Tom Booker, said "I help horses with people problems." I feel as though trainers and people think they are helping each other with horse problems, when we are the ones running off the road and tail-gating in traffic (metaphor).
My dilemma in continuing the blog series on practicing maneuvers (right now) is that I have some horses in my barn that are challenging my thinking outside of the reining arena. Somewhere in their journey they had people problems, and their interpretations of adapting created horse problems. I'm their horse trainer, too. I train horses - both reiners and non-reiners. Yes, it is true, not every horse or person wants to be a reiner, but both can be just as well-rounded.
To my supporters and my Team WPH family, I am committed to communicating my training program and bridging the gap for horses and people beyond the show pen. This involves continuing to provide a better understanding to showing a reining horse, and guiding horses and riders to productive relationships. I believe most folks have the same goals of good rides, good memories, and accomplishments. Though each may be different, it's connecting people with horses, horses with people, and people with people.