Feel the change
Feel the change- Change the feel
I used to always look for the visible things, results- the change you can see, vs. the one you feel.
For example- every time I finished a workout I headed straight to the mirror posing to myself not realizing why I look the same as yesterday, after all- I just worked my ass off, there should be I change. That’s, what I use to do.
Change, mostly, takes time, while feel is a matter of timing.
I think a lot of people I know do that; look for the results, rush it, try various short cuts in certain situations. We look for the immediate change- and lean on it as a source for motivation.
Sometimes, results will take time- for example losing weight, getting back in shape, training a horse. All of these are not a matter of a moment, it is a process, a journey.
Some other times, you will have to test your efforts, for example; go show your horse. And the results will not match your expectations, it doesn't mean that change did not happen, that your program didn't work, it doesn't mean you are not good enough.
Often times you will come across riders at the show ring trying to change the feel- they see others and try to match up. Something about what they see around and how their horse feels doesn't add up- this is a great example of where the race after changing the feel begins.
When we get caught up in the loop of immediate results, expectations, visible change- we lose track of our feel.
Feel the change- change the feel.
Feel the change; it can trace back to one of the greatest quotes in horsemanship world "reward the slightest try" (Ray Hunt).
As horsemen we often find ourselves in the journey to "feel", I have yet to find a specific definition of what feel is, or how you teach it. There are many variables to this word, and many opinions, but I think every horseman I'd ask would agree that feel is a core part of horsemanship.
In order to create progress, learning, and well, achievements we have to acknowledge when change has happened/ about to happen- for better or worse, without that we would lose our window of pro-acting.
Feel the change allows us to be aware, to be present in the moment without losing track of the goal, it shifts our mind from reactin to pro-acting.
Timing is everything- the horse is always on "learn mode". Whether we are in "teacher mode" or not, behaviors are acquired constantly. If we do too much at the wrong time, or not enough we encourage various behaviors.
* A little side note- Do you know what is the everyday task most are the least aware about?
Grabbing our horse and leading to saddle. Most will not dedicate a lot of thought for that situation, though this is the one thing we do more than any thing else. Haltering, leading, tying. These all are "in between actions" though at this time the horse is still learning- it is not as obvious to them.
When we achieve balance with in ourselves we are able to feel the change- it can be the slightest flex or movement or a big slide stop.
Change is always happening, and is key to communication and training.
In order to lead we first have to join;
When trying to approach a new horse that has never been touched; we will try to create a safe zone by matching our body language to his- we will not approach straight ahead with halter and a lead rope.
When talking to someone, we will try to match our tone, body and language to theirs- if your spouse walks in after a bad day at work, angry, frustrated and walking all over the place, and you will sit on the coach talking quietly "oh sorry dear, tomorrow will be better" you are most likely to hit a wall, but, if you get up and just stand there, at eye level and say;"Wow! That sounds frustrating, you are good to be angry about it, after all that hard work", and then gradually, start a conversation, slow down, sit, breathe, lead to relaxation.
Same with the horse, you approach, you match, you catch. (I had to add a pun).
But seriously, once you take the time to feel the change, to pick the right moment to approach, to lead, to influence- to change- you create feel & timimng. You shift the paradigme.
On the other hand, some will change the feel. And it is not by all means a bad thing.
But, can be complicated.
When we pursuit the change of a feeling, we lose focus. Feeling, is dynamic, and can be influenced by many things- inside and outside.
If we take a moment to think about our everyday life- we can look back and see that our feelings can shift constantly, a cup of good coffee can always make me (for example) feel a lot better, and on the other side, dis-honesty or dismissive behavior can fire me up in a heart bit.
I guess that make my point clear- we are all affected by things, so are our horses.
Remember the post workout feeling from the beginning of the post- this is. I was working out in order to change my feeling (that’s a good thing)- but it gets complicated when the change I was eager to feel was not as big (or even existing) as expected.
Once we lean on the results for motivation, or on change as core to success- it will pass by us. Chasing something that is always going can be impossible and if we are honest- exhausting.
Changing what we feel is good- it keeps us motivated and dynamic- but we need to keep in mind that when working with horses it is tricky; you can get your horse softer by simply "rewarding the try", improving timing, feel.
Trying to change something all the time, correcting your horse constantly without giving an explanation can only drive further from your goal and get you to a point where you always have to babysit your horse, because he is simply not used to thinking on his own.
To sum up, feel the change- let it happen, and work with it.
Approach (join), match (body language, goals, expectations) & catch (the timing, feeling).