Saturday, December 22, 2012

Train Like An Individual!

 I've just started reading the book, THE GIFT, by Barbara Schulte. It talks about how we're all unique with individual insight and abilities that no one else has and how to enhance those abilities with mental strategies for riding. It's great food for thought especially if you struggle with confidence, which happens to be the reason I bought it!

The concept of being a true individual doesn't stop at the rider. It applies to horses as well. Just like us, they have individual personalities but they also have unique strengths and weaknesses.

Every time we interact with a horse we're training whether we know it or not. Because of that, we can either grow that horse's strengths or we can magnify their weaknesses. A good horseman will be in tune to that fact and will work towards building their unique abilities.

By focusing on and encouraging a horse's strengths, just like us, they build confidence. Think about it. When you realize you've done something well, doesn't it make you feel good? Doesn't it make you feel like you've accomplished something? Horses are no different. If they're told, "No, that's not right!", over and over eventually they give up, just like we do. But if they're told, "Yes, that's right!" they just try harder for us.

God made us all different and I think He enjoys that fact. After all, it would get boring if we were all the same! The wonderful thing is that He's a big God that's equipped to deal with our individual craziness, weaknesses, and our strengths. He loves it all anyway and He finds ways to help us each grow our strengths in Him so that we're encouraged and try harder. So celebrate your uniqueness in God and ask Him to help you with it!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Get Some Control

I love breaking colts. Some people dread it or just absolutely refuse to do it, but I love it. There is nothing more rewarding than to see the fruit of your labor when you crawl on the first few times and have a good ride.

Breaking colts is serious business. How they start out is how they're going to be throughout their lifetime. Horses are made or ruined in those few rides. Ultimately, it can mean their life or death as the slaughter houses are full of horses that have major problems because they didn't have a good start. So any time you take on breaking a colt, it doesn't need to be for any other reason than that horse's future and you need to make sure you do a great job.

One thing I learned years ago from Marty Green, one of my mentors on colts, is that you need to get them broke before you ever put a foot in a stirrup. It's not good enough that they just tolerate you laying over their back without bucking. They need to have a brake, a steering wheel, and a gas peddle and they need to be light on those things.

Think of it this way. Would you go out on the interstate with a big dump truck that the brakes worked part of the time and took all your strength to steer? Absolutely not! You'd say that's insane. Well, breaking a horse is the same way.

If you have to do more than just pick up to get a colt's face, they're not ready to get on because you only have partial control. You need to spend more time getting better control of that horse's body and mind.

I'd bet that God feels the same way with us. He enjoys seeing the fruit of His labor in our lives when He builds us from the ground up. But just like with breaking colts, to have a good ride, God has to have definite control in our lives. He's got to be able to control our feet and our minds before we can go anywhere without a fight.

If we want to have a good ride with God, we've got to let Him build that foundation and get some control in our lives first. The only way to do that is to spend some time with Him so He can do the groundwork.