Gritty Riders know that blaming the horse doesn't help anyway-very rarely is a situation the horse's fault! The horse didn't ask to be our partner. The horse would much prefer to be out in the pasture, grazing with his buddies. The horse does not intentionally make a mistake, or choose to behave in a certain way just to frustrate their rider.
When a rider blames their horse (or the judge, or the cow, or anything, really) the following negative effects occur:
-A negative label is usually applied to the horse. Once a label is applied it places that identity on the horse in the rider's mind. For example, once a horse is labeled a bucker, the rider's subconscious basically expects the horse to buck, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. -By blaming the horse, the rider is removing any personal responsibility from the situation, and admitting defeat. By blaming, the rider is stating "this is the way the horse is, and there is nothing that I can do to change it." -Once a habit of blaming is started, it is much harder to find the motivation to make changes to correct the situation.
So, how do you fix it if blaming is your default response when something goes wrong? (And if it is, don't worry, blaming is the default response for many people.)
First, recognize when you have blaming thoughts.
Second, question the blaming thought. Ask yourself, "Is this really my horse's fault?" Is there something that you could have done to prevent the situation from happening?
Third, apologize. Yes, apologize to your horse. Say out loud, "I am sorry for blaming you and saying that you are a lazy, clumsy horse."
Fourth, identify solutions. What can you do differently next time? If you feel stuck or unsure of how to address the problem, is there a trainer, riding instructor, or friend that you can ask advice?
Fifth, take action. Make changes to address the situation, take lessons to improve your skills, etc.
Gritty Riders don't blame the horse. They are solutions-focused, and find ways to transforms challenges into learning opportunities.