For some of us (myself included here!) our micro-managing starts with fear. If we are afraid of the “what ifs” with our horse, or replaying an accident in our minds, our way to feel safer is to micro-manage our horses in our attempt to control the situation.
For others, we get so concerned with our riding and maneuvers being “correct” that we micro-manage to ensure that our horse is never wrong. The root fear here is the fear of failure, the fear of others thinking that if our horse isn’t performing the maneuver correctly, that we are a bad rider. Again, I understand this fear-I worry about what others think of my horses and my riding!
Whatever the root cause of the fear, the result of micro-managing our horses is the same: a horse that depends completely on the rider, and that doesn’t take any responsibility for his actions. And in many cases, a micro-managed horse is a dull, sour, unhappy horse.
For me, the most effective way to shift from an equine micro-manager to a recovering equine micro-manager has been a key mindset shift-and the key has been that recognizing that failure is a necessary part of success. I needed to welcome mistakes! I needed to see them as a POSITIVE sign, that the fact I was making a mistake meant that I was making PROGRESS!
This mindset shift has made it easier for me to ask my horse, give him a chance to respond, and if he made a mistake, to ask again. By assigning responsibility to my horse, and trusting that he will respond, and making him accountable for his actions, it has made him happier. And, it has made our rides more fun, because I am not nagging all the time!
Now, I am not a reformed equine micro-manager. I still have progress to make, and I think that it is our default to become micro-managers when we start to feel unsure in our riding, so this is something that I know I need to be mindful and aware of.
How about you? Are you a recovering equine micro-manager? What tips have helped you to micro-manage your horse less? Please post a comment, or share this post with a fellow recovering equine micro-manager!
P.S. Like this post? Then you'll probably also enjoy my blog on creating a Post-Mistake Ritual-it works great for equine micro-managers!