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Repetition is the mother of skill

People often ask me if it annoys me when clients don't follow suggestions, particularly when someone else comes along and makes the same suggestion a little further down the line which is then followed and that person then gets the credit for solving the problem. I remember asking one of my instructors a similar question a few years ago. The short answer is no! Firstly, everyone learns differently and the way I explain or demonstrate something might make sense to one person but not to another and I may not have thought of something that another instructor has thought of and vice versa. Secondly, we, and our horses, learn through repetition, we often need to hear or do something a few times before it makes sense and becomes easier. How many times has a parent told you something (as a child or adult!) that you have kind of dismissed and then one day you're in the situation they warned you about and you realise they were right?! Yes, me too. Sometimes we just aren't ready to take the information on board the first time we hear it. I'm the kind of person that hears a piece of information, sits with it for a while, either puts it aside because it's not what I need right now (and no doubt picks it up further down the line) or experiments and plays with it, often researches it a lot and then uses it/puts it into practice. Have you ever heard something before, promptly forgotten about it and then one day, a little way down the line you've heard it again and thought 'that's it, that is what I need right now'? It's a good thing to not just accept something as the final and only version the first time you hear it. It's good to take suggestions from different people and see what works for you. Although I find it's important to look at the person giving the information to see if they practice what they preach and lead by example, that way you know whether it is information that is worth your consideration. Sometimes you're just part of the process and you plant a seed, but really it's just great to see people solving their problems and making progress as a happy horse and human partnership, isn't that what it's all about?! Results only come from consistency (repetition!) and persistence which is all down to the owner so really, their success is their own and not anyone else's to claim.

The tricky thing for any professional in this situation is that our ego's can get in the way. When we aren't the ones that ultimately make the difference we can start to question our skills and ability, think 'why didn't I think of that?' or 'did I do something wrong?', we can doubt ourselves and compare ourselves to others, now that I am guilty of! I bet you have too, we are all human of course. We have to be able to rationalise and see the bigger picture and put ourselves in that situation and think about how many times it took us to take something on board and really learn it, how perhaps one person managed to make it make sense when others couldn't, otherwise that self doubt can lead us down a dark hole of resentment instead of being supportive of each other and of other peoples ideas. Of course there's also the side of the ego that says that you are right and everyone else is wrong, if you meet any of those in the horse world run! There are a million and one ways to achieve things with horses and we will never know all that there is to know about them. Learn from as many people as you can that suit your learning style, take what is relevant to you in the moment and leave the rest, but be open to new ideas instead of dismissing them.

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