“Horsemanship, like humanship, is a never ending journey in which many have gone before us and many more will follow. None better than the other for we are all on a journey, although at different places. To those ahead of us we owe gratitude. To those behind us we owe inspiration and encouragement. To those beside us, let’s ride in honor of those before us and light the trail for those following.” – Van Hargis
I crave learning opportunities and am always searching for the chance to improve upon my knowledge and skillset. That being said, I attend a lot of clinics, look for opportunities to meet and talk with other experts in the horse industry, and try to ride with a variety of other horsemen with varying levels of ability. In doing so, I have met a lot of people and have learned that there are two types of people in this industry.
The first type, are the people who have the most to offer this industry. They are truly great at what they do and their greatness goes much deeper than in the saddle, their greatness seeps through into the core of their character. These are the people who not only inspire us by all that they have accomplished, but they make the effort to encourage us by making us feel like we too can accomplish greatness. I’ve been blessed with opportunities to meet a few of these people. In doing so, not only have I learned and improved upon my horsemanship, but they have much to offer in the art of humanship as well. They seem to always be seeking opportunities to give back to the industry that they have been so successful in. They listen with an open heart and open mind as they look to discover how they can best assist those wishing to follow in their footsteps. They take the time to connect with those who look up to them, by listening and asking questions, they build a level of comfort and trust allowing for strong and open communication that is shared, rather than being one sided. Warwick Schiller, Jesse and Stacey Westfall, Michael Lyons… these are a few traits they share and I am sure those traits are partially to thank for the successes they are accomplishing.
The second type of people, I have found on the surface appear to have much to offer the industry, however their strength in character leaves much to be desired. These are the people who dominate the conversations with their accomplishments and experiences, as if they are trying to prove their worth to you. When you share your experiences and goals for the future, they don’t deeply encourage you. They mention words of encouragement, but they do not seem sincere or heartfelt, they look for the opportunity to point out that they have already accomplished and surpassed those goals. Rather than encouraging you and offering guidance on how to best reach your goals for yourself, they offer you shortcuts that in the end will offer some benefit to themselves. As I am venturing into the new terrain of the working cow horse, and am bringing up and training a filly in this regard to showcase, it is in this group of people that I have a had a local professional tell me to buy a finished horse from him and showcase it to the public as one I’ve trained. I have had others frown upon my decision to travel and learn from others, suggesting that I will not learn anything they could not already tell me.
As you are traveling along your journey of horsemanship, as well as humanship, be sure you know who you are following, and pay attention to who you may be inspiring as well.
I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), who has taken my knowledge in Applied Behavior Analysis, and the methodology of expert horse trainers, to create an Equine training program that is anything but average. Working with my own horses has led me to discover my passion for not just training horses, but practicing quality horsemanship. For the best interest of the horses, I hope to spread this interest in quality horsemanship.