It’s often interesting to observe what you have taught and then to observe what you think you have taught… but then realized that you really haven’t.
Let’s use contact as an example. Contact is another word that’s used a lot in a variety of different contexts.
Taking up a contact…
Fussy on the / good on the contact…
Improving the contact…
Contact, contact, contact. It’s a big conversation that incorporates lots of different elements, and what’s more, it’s something that you have to teach. Of late, Dee and I have gone back to the round pen so we can explore the finer elements of contact. At the moment, I have primarily been stopping him off my seat, but when I take him out and about, his forward nature + a tendency to distraction in foreign environments means that our “stop” button can be a little hit and miss. But when I really sat down with myself, I realized that I hadn’t really taught him a Plan B or a Plan C. Not in a way that gave us lots of options.
I got talking to my friend and uber horse person Katy Negranti, and we discussed how we ultimately want to have three options for the stop.
- Stop off your seat
- Stop off your voice
- Stop off the rein
I noticed that Dee had some confusion mixed in with a bit of anxiety about the contact, that has come about I’m sure from a lack of experience in working with a true contact (I’ve taken the adage of using the reins for refinement and not control pretty seriously!) and me getting a little bit ahead of myself in my expectations. In our work together the last few days, I’ve made sure that I’m super clear what it is I’m asking. When we are in motion, my fingers are open to allow for both a guiding rein and a connection from back to front. When I close my fingers, we are dropping back a pace/stopping.
It’s a very subtle movement between an open and a closed rein, but they communicate different things. For me, I was expecting understanding before I had truly taught it- so taking it back a notch was the best way for us to get ahead.
Don’t be afraid to revisit the questions you are asking and make sure you have properly taught the answer. Without a clear channel of communication, we have nothing.