Honest and Objective Evaluation – Are You Willing?

Picture of Polly

Look in the mirror and ask yourself, can I be honest about my abilities? Can I objectively assess  and evaluate my riding and my horse training skills? If not, you can stop reading.  This post probably won’t help you anyway. 

A lot of people don’t have the capability to see themselves as they are. They see a mental image that may be real in their mind, but far from the truth. You may know a person that claims to be a good driver that you won’t let near your truck. No matter how many wrecks, fender benders, or little accidents, it’s just the circumstances or someone else’s fault. It’s never their driving.

Let’s face it, self-evaluation can be and often is painful. It’s hard to admit our deficiencies and weaknesses. Pride and ego can really get in the way when it comes to admitting what we don’t know. This is really true if others look up to us and genuinely think we are knowledgeable. It’s easier to bluff while blaming the horse than admit not knowing what to do.

Are you really able to properly train a horse? How many have you trained? What have you trained them to do? Where is the last horse you trained right now and what has he been doing the last 30 days? When was the last time someone rode him? How long did they ride? Who rode him? Are you comfortable letting your neighbor’s boy ride him? When you get ready to ride, do you have to lunge him before you mount?

We view people who claim to have “horse training skills” about the same as people with “good parenting skills”. Lots of folks have kids. They are “parents” in the strictest use of the word. Nevertheless, we find it a whole lot easier to be in the company of children who are being raised by parents who really know how. Kids that haven’t been properly trained aren’t much fun to be around. A horse is no different. A poorly trained horse is just a headache and a problem.

If you have kids that act up, there’s a  reason. Same for horses, if you can’t ride them safely and confidently, there is a reason. The question you have to consider is, “Am I the problem?” If you can’t honestly evaluate your abilities, you can’ t make changes. It’s like the parent screaming for the 99th time “you better stop” while everyone watching already knows they won’t. If you aren’t prepared to do what it takes, then you shouldn’t expect things to improve. It may mean you give up being a “horse trainer” and admit you just like to ride horses.

Good parenting takes hard work, discipline, and lots of time. Proper horse training takes lots of time and hard work. If you don’t have the time or really know how,  you won’t end up with a well-broke horse. If you aren’t disciplined in your training, don’t expect to produce well-behaved horses or kids. The average person doesn’t have the time to devote to proper horse training even if they have the ability.  Work, school, children, and life take the vast majority and the remaining time left for horse training just isn’t enough. This doesn’t take into account the  majority of horse owner don’t know how to properly train a horse. They live in a world filled with computers and modern devices. They learned what little they do know from a couple of weekend courses,  a book, and maybe some riding lessons years ago. You would roll on the floor laughing at someone with the same type of training giving you advice on how to raise children.

Take a real hard look at your string of horses, your time commitments, and your  “real” abilities. Decide if you want to ride a horse and have some good times or if you want to keep doing what you have been. If you’re happy and enjoying your horses, then by all means keep it up. Owning horses is supposed to be about having fun and enjoying life. If you aren’t having as much fun as you want, maybe it’s time for a change. It might be worth reducing the number of horses in the pasture and keeping just one or two that are ready to hit the trails when you have the opportunity. Life is all about choices and how to spend your time. You can spend your leisure time riding the trails and seeing new sights or at home going  back over the same lesson you gave your horse the last time you saddled up. The choice is yours!


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