Day 5: UK Coaching Week
Today is all about parents supporting coaches, hmm I thought. Let's do this Lisa style!
"Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently – they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” https://youtu.be/-z4NS2zdrZc
Always the round peg, I invite you join me in flipping for equestrian sports our current model of parenting. Park up our societal construct of a parent (I am one, a parent, to a 10 year old sporty boy) and replace with the latin root word parer - to give birth to, produce.
"Producing" horses is common language amongst equestrians, some even describe "producing horses" as their career. So let us explore our role in the process of "producing horses".
Like babies and very young children, horses have no autonomy over their world. We control when, where and how horses satisfy their natural drives, also called telos; forage, friends and freedom. Some of us 'producing horses' attempt to give agency or freedom of choice, for example shelter from biting flies, access to nutritional variation ie herbs or only being trained when you horse chooses to present itself at your mounting block. Or not. When we adjust our lens to actually see we we are in total control of our horses choices, like a parent, we are fully responsible for how our horses behave. Or in the world of human parenting, how our little darlings turn out!
The multidimensional factors of 'producing' a horse is complex. Because, as it should be, one size fits one.
Just as our children show up with huge variance, so do horses. So passing on your unsolicited advice, like it seems most parents have had to endure at sometime, is at best unhelpful. My child is not your child. At worst, trigger shaming new mums who our sinking in their sea of change in hormones, routines and new responsibilities. I will never forget the swear word in our house - Gina Ford. The self alleged 'parenting guru' of babies, I consumed every single book, with each book growing empowerment. Until said baby arrived. As I implemented each nugget of Gina's advice and failing, I felt more and more disempowered, exhausted, and overwhelmed. Her one size fits all approach left me 'tool-less' as a new mum. Gina did't or could know my son was riddled with infection due to his ureters being baggy and his urine refluxing, scarring his kidneys. Missed in uterus and by the medical profession at birth, my son was declining daily.
One size always fits one.
We all have our own unique DNA coding, learning history and environment.
This is why I love coaching. It is my job to work out the 'size to fit you/your horse'. Producing horses successfully is a skill in breadth of ability to otpimise the variation in horses. Why would we be so egocentric to think producing one horse to Grand Prix means we can produce the next four baby horses? Each one of these four horses will have more different ways to respond to us, motivations and difference in how we 'fit together.'
I like to think we produce horses by either building attachment - you to your horse and your horse to you, or we get more detached. There are different ways we can increase attachment which the field of Equitation Science will expand for you. Being arrogant to think a horse you are struggling to 'produce' is not 'producible', is more about your absence of what this horse needs, like a child. It says more about the way you are 'producing', if this goes on undetected the result is always poor welfare consequences for the horse.
Because one size fits one.
If you are currently struggling with your horse's attachment to you today, explore evidence based knowledge. Delve into what Equitation Science has to offer. I promise you, as a coach of Equitation Science, there is always more for us to learn as we journey through the 'wilderness', seeking the truth about horses.
What we know matters,
Who we are matters more.