Now that I've scared everyone off from ever giving me advice again >insert laughing emoji<, I would like to shift gears and ask you to share the best piece of advice, or maybe more accurately, wisdom, you ever received.
For me, it was probably the day my vet told me Cowboy was a smart horse because he had a strong survival instinct. I was thinking about it from the negative--he's not a bright horse, because he's not allowing my vet to give him his vaccination shot, and I was making apologies. He turned that back around to the positive so fast my head was left spinning.
I was Cowboy's fifth owner by the time he was seven, partially because the poor guy had been caught up in a divorce situation. He was also an orphan foal. Cowboy must have thought if he was going to survive, he'd have to take matters into his own hands. When I look back, every blow up, every refusal, everything--was a failure of not meeting that most basic, essential need.
1. Have I done the necessary conditioning / training?
2. Have I earned this horse's trust?
3. Does my horse feel like he / she can communicate their needs to me and have them heard and respected?
4. Is anything I'm doing contributing to my horse's fear and survival instinct?
5. What's the best way I can get this horse past his fear and not make him more fearful?
6. At the end of the day, the relationship is more important than the results.
It took me a long time to get there with Cowboy, and I had to let some things go. He never enjoyed riding in super large groups. He always hated desensitization clinics. He wasn't good crossing water, and always took extra time. When he got it, he'd do it forever, but only that particular water crossing. In all other things, he gave me everything he had--really poured it out and wanted more time with me on the trail.
How about all of you? What is that great epiphany? What piece of wisdom changed everything about your outlook?
Oh, and we introduced Foxy and Epona last night.
It was extremely uneventful.