On My Shoulders 

They’re always on my shoulders. Every day when I’m schooling horses, whether I’m starting a new recruit or doing routine rides on the older, well trained, horses, I have “souls” perched upon my shoulders. They come and go, and some have been long dead while some are’s still living. I know I don’t have all the answers. I am frequently perplexed by the equine mind! So when I get stuck I resort to questioning these mentors past and present for answers to training problems. Words come to me, either words that I’ve heard or words that I have read, words of wisdom. One minute Jesse Beery might speak up, then Ray hunt. Moments later I’m hearing the words of Steinbrecht, or Baucher, or de la Gueriniere. Instead of becoming flustered at a stubborn pupils responses, I refer to the wisdom of Tom Dorrance on my right shoulder or the Reiner Klimke on my left shoulder. Often the words of John Lyons or John Claude Racinet or others come to me, like “ask often, expect little, reward the slightest try,” or “give him a better deal,” or “fix it up and let him find it,” or “help him achieve balance, then teach him a signal.”

The old saying “where knowledge ends, anger begins,”

is never truer than when you are in a tight spot with a half ton of instinct driven equine adversary with the reaction time of the speed of dark! The anger management tool and the equalizer is to expand that knowledge. Pick up a book, watch a video, dial your phone, attend clinics, take lessons, these are things horses can’t do, but we can. Then you’ll load your shoulders with mentors!

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