Check Your Ego at the Door
Everybody has an ego. Even the most self effacing among us has a need for praise and accomplishment. It helps us to feel good about ourselves and the path we are on in life. But when your path involves another living creature, one whose communication options are fairly limited, ego has no place in the conversation. We have much to learn from our equine partners and they can teach us much about ourselves. The glare of that inward spotlight can be uncomfortable to confront. But to become truly a good horseman, confront it you must. You cannot allow your desire to achieve to overtake your desire to learn. Accolades won at the expense of true knowledge ultimately have little value.
We have an obligation to the well being of the horses in our care that extends beyond the creature comforts of shelter and nutrition. We have an obligation to learn to ride correctly, to develop feel, to keep our emotions uninvolved. This doesn’t mean we lower our expectations. It means we rise to the occasion, keeping always our horses best interests in mind. It doesn’t mean that we all must become Olympic caliber riders, it means we strive daily to improve our understanding, correct our position, become aware of our faults and pat ourselves on the back when we get it right. It is a process, and just like the training scale, each element must be in place before the next can be achieved.
Your ego will only interfere with your honest assessment of your skills. Self criticism isn’t fun, but it is the only path to improvement. If you check your ego at the door, your horse is very capable of telling you how little you really know.