I was born knowing nothing. Everything I know, I had to be taught. My experience teaching others leads me to believe that some folks expect to have been born knowing everything. Well, it just don’t work that way. Horses are also born not knowing anything. First they learn from their mamas, and then, when they find themselves being domesticated, they learn from a trainer. The next thing a trainer has to do is teach the owner or rider the ol’ pony’s ”buttons”. That’s when you find out that training the horse was the easy part. It would seem that since folks can talk, it would be easier to teach them than a “dumb” animal. You would think. The problem comes when the word I use conjures up an image in the rider’s mind quite different from my own. Also unlike me, some folks expect to have been born knowing things, like how to ride. I wish! Teaching riding is about teaching a “feel”. That is a lot like describing a smell, or describing a color to someone without sight. Real riding teachers have many ways of describing a feel. They can produce images that help folks learn the language of pressure and release that horses use. I’m in awe of great riding teachers whose saintly patience and creative language and imagery have helped me and others to learn this language, and to survive, and even celebrate, the union between human and horse. They all seem to have in common the concept that people and horses, like Curly says in the movie “City slickers”, can only learn one thing at a time. Just one thing!
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