The Wrong Choices

After just six months of training, Relámpago was more unmanageable than before. I was well aware of the gentle horse he is so I didn't except the excuses given to me to brush off the poor training results.

We had discussed his process of training and my wishes for a gentle slow approach. We even had a translator to make sure we were communicating his training plan well. So I can confidently say it wasn't a communication issue.

What I had already learned about the old classical methods of training, through my own study and clinics with SRS Marius Schreiner depicted in the story image here. An outstanding horseman who taught me some of the fundamentals of classical riding.

I knew well what those results should look like and how the horse should respond as a result. His temperament should become quieter more docile not fiery and unmanageable.

Now I realize many reading this will pass a lot of judgment here... on me... on the trainer... on my horse... but the situation was as unique as the issues I was dealing with. And you can't pass judgment without knowing all the facts. It would take a 1000 page book to describe every detail and reason for the decisions I made. So here I am going to highlight the most important lessons I learned.

My first and for most lesson was patients. I could have been more patient with myself and my horse in order to learn and except whatever little progress we were able to make together. I recognize I still was holding on to a dream of one day doing something "great" with Relámpago. Yes, it was my ego getting in the way of our partnership and progress.

Another lesson learned was to listen to other horse people's suggestions with an opened mind and then apply it to my own personal situation as I saw fit. In short.. to stop reacting and start responding! The people I spoke to didn't know everything Relámpago and I had been through and they didn't know exactly what I was seeking to achieve. Many recommendations came with their limited understanding of Relámpago's health and a personal focus on competitive results in and outside of the show ring and some with a personal agenda. I took these suggestions to heart and allowed it to pressure me. I wanted results in the timeline that was considered "correct", "safe", or "responsible"...

Unless you really see eye to eye with your trainer and you both seek regular communication about the horse's progress that includes all the good, bad, and difficult than the horse will thrive and the result will be more than satisfactory. However, on the other hand... If the trainer believes the owner is of lesser importance, not very informed or shouldn't be very involved in the training because the trainer is the "expert" then the relationship will be short lived and the results poor with a horse who suffers the brunt of everything.

Finding people who demonstrate lasting and upright integrity is difficult especially when dealing with horses. There's so much at stake for these people and often a lot of fear when things don't go as planned. Which in all reality is often with horses.

Most importantly I knew what I wanted for Relámpago but I allowed myself to rush into a decision that wasn't in our best interest. With a person whom I knew little more about then watching him ride a couple of times. It was a mistake I would try hard not to make again.

The lessons I learned brought me closer to caring for Relámpago in a way that suited us and not others. I began to realize the relationship I was seeking with him was one I had to build by educating myself and putting that into practice with one small step each day. If someone else trained him it wasn't me building that trust. So my feet were set on a new path of discovery...

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