Sunday, February 14, 2010

Do As She Says

And as she does. Little girls do not have enough solid role models in the horse world. The competitive horse world produces very few of them and the conventional model of riding lessons is not designed to bring out the best in kids.

I am delighted to have a very strong role model for my little riders in our program. Emily is good with horses, great with kids, and even better at simply living. She is better at moving little girls from fear to first rate horsemanship than I am.

She has helped me see gaps in my teaching model. I have never placed any emphasis on "keeping the horse out of your space" and I could not understand why so many others placed such importance on the concept. I never found a problem with having horses respect me, move for me, get out of my way, and avoid running over me.

As Emily pointed out, "You look different to a horse than Carley does." (Carley is a great young rider who will one day be a great horse trainer, but the preteen weighs about as much as my left leg.) As obvious as it should have been to me, I did not recognize that my life experiences gave me a way of moving, and a natural body language that horses respect. I am the oldest son, of the oldest son, of the oldest son of an only son. Partly as a result of that, from about the time I stopped wearing diapers I thought it only natural for others to do what ever I told them to do. That belief shapes the way I move in a round pen.

Emily helps instill confidence in the youngest riders in a highly effective, yet very different way than do I. Emily's consistent theme is "You can learn to do it. I used to have your problem and now, look at me. I can do it." I have always sought to instill confidence in kids with a consistent theme of "You can do it because I believe in you and I believe that you can do it."

Emily is a good teacher and I am learning a lot from her.


virginagirl said...

"...I stand on the shoulders of giants..."

Priscilla said...

SO true... She is my mentor, heroine, and role model. I learn a lot from her and I always will!

Most recently (she might not know this), she taught my that people don't want to know how much you know about horses at all. That's why I'm not giving advice to anyone anymore.
I need to shut up and smile...

(*I love you Em!*)