I saw this onesie at a store last month and it cracked me up. My Parents Don't Want Your advice. There have been times this last week that I wish I had a shirt that said, My mama don't want your advice!
Let me back up for a moment and clarify two points:
1. I often ask for advice on this blog, and I'm thankful for your input. This does not apply to the blog.
2. I am guilty of what I'm about to describe.
When you train at a public park, you're going to run into well-meaning people who see you struggling and want to help. Unfortunately, help is often a distraction, and it almost always leads to a worse outcome. I'm not sure why that is, but every time I've taken someone's advice--I'm not talking about trainers, but random people who show up-- it got worse. It could be that it interferes with my natural method--which to someone on the outside might look "wrong". When I feel pressured to try to adopt their advice it makes me see it from their eyes--and not my own or my horse's. It interferes with the communication going on. I start seeing where we should be--and not where we actually are. It's frustrating, and it happened to me twice last week, setting back our progress.
Today the park was pretty full, and I shared a spot with a young woman and her horse. She backed her trailer up to the round pen right as I was going in. I started to feel the dread well up in me. Is she going to offer advice? Is she going to judge my methods? I mean, I think my methods are pretty solid, actually, but different horses need different things--and different people have different ways--and each horse and person is--for lack of a better word, different.
Well, she didn't...because she has better manners than me. I have been that know-it-all person before offering help when it wasn't asked. I look back and cringe! Please God, strike me moot if I ever go to offer unsolicited advice to another horse person.
Again, this advice comes from a good place and I in no way want to suggest it doesn't. It's just that it's not helpful.
We switched places and I went into the arena while she went into the round pen. As I was leaving, I saw her trying to load her horse, but she wouldn't get in the trailer. I didn't look at her, but walked slowly by, just in case she asked for my help. She didn't. She took her horse back into the round pen and started working her. As I drove off, I could see clearly, she was there to teach that horse to load properly, and that was all part of her plan. I was so thankful that I had kept my mouth shut.
Now, as I say this, I remember a time I did need help loading a horse, and a very nice man came over and gently asked me if I needed assistance. I had probably sent his group some imploring looks before he finally felt comfortable asking. I was very happy he did and accepted his help. Obviously, this isn't a hard and fast rule. It's delicate.
When we get past all of this elementary school training, and we've reached that greater plateau with our horses where we're doing all sorts of fun things on them--it is easy to forget how important the struggle was in getting there. It's also natural to want to share our many lessons with others who are back where we started, but this has taught me a valuable lesson that I hope I carry with me from here forward--Mama's Don't Want My Advice.
Here's my only video of Tumbleweed today. He still comes to me when I call him in, even though he knows I'm taking him off to work. That is something I never got from Leah or even Beautiful Girl. I've only ever had it with my first horse I raised from a weanling, Tanner, then Cowboy, Epona (so far), and Tweed. The others will stand for me when I come and get them, but they're not going that extra mile to come to me.
He had been way out in the pasture grazing when I called him in, and by the time it hit me to video it, he was almost there. It says volumes to me about his willingness and connection, despite whatever mistakes I've made.