From our experience in school and parents, when you were told to do certain things or perhaps when you training with an instructor in equitation, a common strategy in teaching was to make you feel guilty and bad. We were given the impression that the only way to learn is through constant correction. We manage ourselves and our horses with this idea in mind.
We come from a culture of constant punishment involved in learning. We have learned to see our mistakes as bad and therefore, we work with a constant stress of trying to be good. It is however our mistakes which lead us to find improvement not just in ourselves but it is the horse’s mistakes and resistances which lead it to find greater skill.
If your horse is have difficulties, it is a bad horse and you are a bad rider, you’re told how bad your skills are and how weak or badly built you horse is, so that you will learn to train properly or find another horse. If you or the horse can’t maintain composure during a training session or in any performance situation, it became obvious you need more lessons , your horse need more training or you need a new horse. Therefore, you’d better work hard to be a good rider, pay of more training or get another horse..
We have created a culture of condemnation instead of one of kindness. This faulty logic is frequently used to educate horses, and it has affected both you and your horse in a less than desirable way.
Proper education in dressage for horse or rider is education absolutely without punishment, . Many people try that approach in training but find it quite difficult. They often end up punishing horses anyway. Frequently, there are a litany of excuses for this but it is difficult in a culture of condemnation to find another way and if you try you are condemned by those around you.
Finding a gentle and non judgemental way of training may be tricky, but it is not only quite possible but absolutely necessary for the horse and much healthier for you as well. Dressage needs to be free from the mentality of praise and blame. Good training and education in dressage can create the experience of basic goodness for ourselves and our horses.
Kindness, gentleness, and lightness are not just words we use to avoid condemnation but they are an actual practice and discipline common to all good education for our horses and each other which is possible if we can find goodness in our heart and share it. This is not about some fashion but it is rather a path that we must take if we are to find the way to experience the best in ourselves and ours horses.