Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Taranaki New Zealand.
The appeal of a trainer
I was wondering about Natural Horsemanship trainers. I know a lot of time is spent on the forums rating them but I am wondering if maybe it is our needs as potential students that determines how effective a training method is as opposed to the trainer themselves.
16 or so years ago my first foray into Natural Horsemanship was via Pat Parelli. Maybe a big part of this was simply because in NZ he was kind of the first really commercial, relatively easily accessible trainer in the field of NH. Regardless of how I found him, at that stage of my life I really resonated with his teachings (I bought the box set - but not the carrot stick lol). Looking back at myself I realize how terrified I was of training a horse. I was breaking in my first young horse and was so lacking in confidence that the Parelli push button, step by step method felt like a life line. I learned a lot, but ultimately I experienced more failure than success. For some reason my young head strong colt refused to respond in quite the same way as the well schooled horse demonstrated in the PP video's lol.
I moved on.
My next attempt at breaking in a horse went so much better - so many early failures had helped me no end. I had matured a lot and no longer felt like it was a disaster if I didn't get the instant results sold by PP. I started broadening my reading and ended up stumbling across Buck Brannaman. At this time I really resonated with Buck's calm manner, his easy, soft ways really inspired me - I too wanted to make handling a horse look effortless. Interestingly, a few months after finding my way to Buck (yes, I did by his box set - but not his flag stick lol) I was able to attend his clinic here in NZ. I was so excited! He was my guru. I had an absolutely miserable time. As much as I loved his ability with horses, the whole time he was with people you could see that he didn't actually like us. At lunch time, which was a group barbecue, he went to the far side of the arena, as far away from us as was possible and sat at a little folding table with a book, radiating a "do not talk to me" energy. Even though I had paid a lot of money for a 3 day clinic I never went back after the first day.
I learned a lot from BB methods but I was left feeling like, if you have no interest in helping the people then how can you help the horses? I needed to feel important and neither Buck nor Pat, could meet my needs in the end.
Now, several years later I stumbled upon Warwick Schiller and I find myself really enjoying his lessons. The part of Warwick's teaching that strikes a chord for me is not his horse skills so much. Don't get me wrong, he has mad skills and I want to be just like him but what works for me is his emphasis on how our behaviour will determine how we interact with our horses.
Over the last, nearly 2 decades I have lived a life. I have experienced joy, sorrow, bore a child, lost a child, bore another child, raised a child, built a business, dealt with long term chronic illness, loved, feared, fallen and got back up again. I have moments of incredible wisdom and moments of incredible ignorance. Through all of this life I too have come to the conclusion that my position of power is my ability to choose how I react to the things that happen around me. Like Warwick, I have come to the realization that for success with horses the most important training I can do is train myself. I have learned that no one outside of myself can give me what I need, I have to do that myself and the more care and consideration I give myself then the more care and consideration I have to share with, not just my horse but other people as well.
Maybe the trainers we gravitate toward have less to do with the actual trainer and his methods and more to do with our state of mind and the place where we are at in our lives. Just a thought.
PS Does Warwick have a box set?
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.D Adams