Young horses sure do teach us a lot when we are willing to listen. I was working my 4-year old on the pattern the other day and fine tuning a few things. She was starting to figure it out but I could tell she was tired and a bit cranky. I had to take a moment and reflect on a few things: would continuing to fine tune boost her confidence, and would it benefit her in the long run?
The answer is: no. I would be satisfying the OCD, type-A person inside my head! I had to take a step back and rein in that monster. I had to decide what my priorities were: soothing the type-A monster or boosting my young horse’s confidence.
I would rather have a confident young horse who is willing and gives her best effort than fight with a tired horse over something she is already trying to do (trying, but not quite fully succeeding).
Sometimes a horse just “gets it” from the get go, but sometimes we have to take our learning in stages and reward small successes. The other day was a prime example, she understand what I set out to do, her execution of that was a little off but the effort was there. I had to just accept that, for the day, her efforts were good enough.
I sometimes get caught up in self-imposed deadlines which leads to trying to accomplish too much in too little time. I have to keep it fun for myself and for my horses.
Remember, sometimes their best effort is good enough. That’s all we can ask of ourselves and our equine athletes.
Remember, keep barrel racing fun and enjoy your life!