This thought has been chiming in my head since this new year began.
It is something that has been sitting in my brain as I struggle with the weather, updating the next module of the canine Bowen course that I run with a colleague, and while I have been walking my dogs and riding.
The decisions we take have a direct impact on our animals. Horses and dogs live closely with us and even the best of us goes into automatic mode once in a while. This really is not acceptable, it means that we do not always think clearly before we do things and our animals suffer to a certain extent for our thoughtlessness, and that is something they do not deserve.
The longer I live on this earth the more I realise that people are likely to repeat actions without putting their brains into gear first, just because everything seems ok and the result is satisfactory ( a word I personally dislike a lot) then nothing changes and no questioning follows either. It is only when the result is not what was expected that any thought occurs. When we are around animals this is really not acceptable.
For those of us who are educating others this becomes really important, and it is vital that we think before we instruct anyone to do anything. I think the engagement of the brain before teaching, is less common than it should be-and we are all educators in one form or another if we have horses or dogs.
Yesterday I was riding a clients horse, while I was warming her up another rider and her instructor came into the school, and yes my mind was chanting. The horse was unhappy, the instructions to the rider ineffective, and they spent an hour just moving round and round without any important issues being resolved. It was truly galling to watch. Nothing improved, nothing was learnt and the horse was moving just as badly when he finished.
In the words of Charles de Kunffy “You are either actively improving your horse or actively breaking him down-there is no neutrality in riding”.
The same could be said both in the training of horses and dogs. The educators need to be educated first, and secondly whatever they “want” to do with the client in front of them has to be put firmly into second place behind what is needed by the person or animal you are working with.
We truly need to start thinking clearly before we put our plans into action and we need to learn first before we teach, and we need to observe the situation.
Animals deserve the best we have and EVERYTHING we do has consequences.