How do you go about offering unsolicited advice?
I was saddling my horse today when I noticed someone riding on the other side of the field that borders my pasture. I didn't thuink much of it untill I saw a loose horse running up the field and a man walking slowly behind it.
Since I had my horse saddled I rode over to see if he was OK and help him catch his horse. I got to the horse that was actually a welsh size pony and grabbed hold of the reins from my saddle. The horse blew up and started to rear and strike. My horse has been around some so he just stood there untill it was over then I led the horse down the road to where I could see the owner. I sat there on my horse talking to him and I ask if he would like some advice about his horse. He said sure and I recomended that he get rid of the bridle he was using (it was some bitless super stopper gimmick) and then I said that if he needed help he could come over to my place and I would help him. About then some kids on quads drove up and his horse blew up again this time striking him in the face possibly breaking him nose and putting a goose egg on his forehead. After I caught his horse again I ask him if he would like some more advice. He said sure and I told him it didn't appear he had enough experience to handle the problems with this horse and he should think about selling it. I told him when the regular horse sales were and he said he would consider it.
The point of all this is what is the best way to offer unsolicited advice? I don't want to see a guy like this hurt or read about him getting killed in the paper. Feel free to share personal experiences.
One way I go about doing it is mentioning something about the horse, encouraging the owner to respond in a way that will allow me to ask more questions and then lead into a story about how I went through the same situation and give them some friendly advice.
If I think that something dangerous could come of what they are doing i will give them advice about another method of accomplishing a better result. I am very open to advice from people who I believe are good horsemen/women, but I hardly ever take advice from someone I know doesn't have much experience or who I believe aren't good horsemen/women. But then again I like someone elses point of view if I am stuck or am having problems.
I like to ask about the behaviors of the horse; like "is it like this often?" "what do you normally do when he acts up?" Questions that solicit an answer from the owner that might indicate that he'd like advice, or help. If you can try to 'personalize' what's going on, a person may be more willing to accept the advice. And perhaps you'd be able to even 'show' the person some things right there, that may help with the 'issue'.
It sounds like the horse just needs someone to teach him to not react in the manner he is reacting; ie, alot of desensitization, and ground work, to establish control and respect. He probably is genuinely scared, but because the 'authority' isn't there, is starting to act out, and running because it works, and gets him away from the scarey sounds, and objects. Maybe you could help the owner regain respect... I don't know that I would have told a stranger he needs to sell the horse right off the bat, when maybe he's just not had the direction he needs with this particular kind of situation. I would have wanted to work with him a few times in order to establish that he 'needed' to sell. The horse may have been okay when he got it, but is learnt to take advantage; he could be turned around again if he had the manners in the first place. I don't know, it's just alot to 'judge' from a first appearance, and interaction with a horse and owner.
I think delivery of unsolicited advice is everything. Actually how any advice is delivered is important. There is offering advice or criticising. If offering any advice either asked or unasked, do try to find something that person is doing right and make sure you remark on it. People respond to positive reinforcements just as animals do.
The guy on the road obviously has no clue how to handle his pony. Ok, but atleast saying something on what a fine looking pony he has will immediately make him feel like he has done something right. Just saying something nice and positive at the first instant will make any advice so much more likely to be recieved with favour. Not to mention used. How many times has someone talked AT you and you have walked away thinking what an A-hole, not even considering that that person has something worthwhile to offer.
I have noticed that people will bend over backwards to build the confidence of a horse but wont hesitate to grind the confidence and feelings of a person into the dirt. Be kind to people and they will seek you out, ask for and use your advice which in the long run will benefit any horse that person ever has any dealings with.
Since I don't have enough experience or knowledge to offer unsolicited advice, I'm usually the one getting the unsolicited advice. That being said, I can attest to the consensus that delivery is EVERYTHING. The fact that you asked first is a big plus, most people aren't that considerate. Asking if you can offer your advice before just going ahead and giving it makes a huge difference... if the person on the receiving end is open to it, the advice is listened to and doesn't just go in one ear and out the other. It gives them the opportunity to readjust their mindset into a learning mode.
I've had this conversation with my husband who offers his advice in differing ways: Don't talk down to me, I'm not stupid, I'm just learning. I wasn't born and raised around horses and it's not second nature to me yet as it is to you. Have patience with me. Assume the role of teacher and speak in a way that is not condescending or judgemental. Do not mistake my lack of knowledge for lack of caring. The tone in which you take makes a hell of a lot of difference in how the advice is received. Do not lecture.. I'm not a child, converse with me instead as an equal. Just because you have more experience and knowledge than I do about horses does not make you better than me in anyway.... some day you may have to come to me for advice on something that I have expertise in and you do not.... how would you like me to speak to you?
I truly think every opportunity to give advice should begin with the statement "Would you like some advice/help?" That puts the ball in the other persons court and as was mentioned, begins the learning progress. A lot of people are afraid to ask for help and it's such a relief to some.
I was at a baording place briefly where the woman just loved to give unsolicited advice. Which basically consisted of yelling out her window at me to just "give slack in the leadrope, she'll follow, she's just scared!" when the snot faced filly I bought off her decided there was no way she was walking through the massive puddle neccesary get where we were going. I was so flustered and annoyed, she was clearly not scared, she'd simply been allowed to do as she pleased and planted her feet and stared at me with that bored look on her face.
We left within a month because I literally did not even want to work my horses anymore because she was ALWAYS there telling us how wrong we were doing things.
I love it when I'm frustrated and someone politely walks up and asks if they could offer a bit of advice. Even if I don't agree with the advice, they haven't waltzed in like a dang know-it-all which immediately shuts me down to recieveing the information in an educational way. I love advice but it has to be delivered in a way where you're not making the person feel like an idiot if you know absolutely nothing about them or their horse.
I think you handled the situation completely perfect, and here's hoping he takes you up on the advice before he gets killed!
I tried to be as kind as I could to him and I think he took it pretty well. I wouldn't have suggested he sell the horse if he hadn't just been struck in the face. I explained to him that if that horse had been shod he would have been unconcious or dead being struck in the forehead like he was. I did comment on what a nice looking pony he was but then less than a minute later the poor guy was bleeding and the horse was loose again. I hope he at least gets help from someone before he gets hurt worse.
I love getting advice, when the person isnt being rude or talking down to me. when they explain their reasoning its helps alot. i like when people say you can try this OR that, and not when they tell me, you HAVE to do this.
I usually don't give advices because in many situations (I'm talking about horse-unrelated stuff here) people definitely don't want to hear any advise doesn't matter how polite you are. So I just don't feel comfortable. I tried couple times in my old barn but even though the horses were hurt and the owner was hurt couple times, she still didn't listen to one (and yes, I'm always trying to be very polite). Eventually I just left because it became dangerous for my own horses.
I personally always welcome the advise, but I don't like people coming up with the not-so-smart advices, and when people push on me getting something (like bit, or different saddle pad, etc.) just because it "worked for them".
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