I am looking for words of wisdom in regards to having (or maybe not having) conversations about horsemanship with friends. (When provoked, no evangelizing here)
Because of where I am at in this journey being still in a fragile state where
A) I don't remotely have a fully developed skill set and
B) where I am trying to stay clear away from wrong images and wrong teaching so that all the right images and teachings burn into my subconscious for good so I don't feel that right now I should be going into the long version of what and why I am doing things differently than they do. I think I am really quite good at articulating what's happening but even so, when I have in the past its been met with confusion/disbelief at best or worse I get the feeling that I have to be very careful not to insult them just by virtue of having a philosophy different from their own.
(My husband supports me fully in this journey and listens intently to me as I go through everything I have learned from start to finish after each session with Josh and he's used horses in his business for years and still doesnt really get how it all comes together.)
There are lots of strong beliefs out there in regards to horsemanship. I notice that this school of horsemanship might look to the untrained eye to be not much different than others but in fact I have found that it is fundamentally different than absolutely everything else I have ever looked into.
I have followed the instructions here as closely as I can and I have been taking horses up to work with Josh monthly for quite a while now and have recently started a more intense mentorship program. My life with my horses has completely changed for the better, the hard work is now producing fruit and growing my ability as a horseman and it all feels good and clean and right and satisfying but lately my relationships with very close friends who are also horse people are strained in this area. I know that other people have gone through this before me and I also know that there is growth to be had just developing the character to carry a person successfully through these encounters.
I hope this isnt too off topic because I would love to have some insight into how to best conduct myself. I
had a friend recently who believes in 'roundpening for respect' call our horsmanship philosophy 'new age' in the nicest negative way possible... which I would say is funny really because its not new age at all. But thats an exaple of what I am talking about.
(1) Judge not; be willing to let other people do as they wish with their own livestock. The "strain" you are noticing comes from their perception that you are evangelizing. So you don't say one single word. Instead, let THEM come to YOU -- if they are so inclined.
(2) Your job is to set an example -- the best example you can. Most people cannot respect someone who is "all talk". Therefore, if you can't out-ride the other person; if your horse isn't winning; if you don't have trophies or ribbons or whatnot that is the other person's accepted measure of authority, then you have ZERO chance of their listening to you.
(3) Expect communication difficulties as the norm for anyone who comes from our school of thought. It is a truism of adult education that most adults can only hear what they were already expecting to hear. Given that we are coming from somewhere entirely different in many cases from what the person you are talking to has heard about, you must not get disappointed when what they "hear" isn't at all what you said, or else they hear nothing, or else they reject what part of it they did hear. Our system of values, as well as our specific techniques and overall goals -- not to mention how we measure success -- are all quite different than what the mass of people get from horse shows, horse competitions, the horse clubs and breed associations, and the magazines.
(4) If other people come "at" you aggressively, angrily, or in any way unpleasantly, simply invite them to go elsewhere. There are, as you correctly notice, many other schools of horsemanship than our own, so what you do is you invite anyone who has been hostile to go "elsewhere".
(5) As you might have noticed when you and I first began our dialogue a couple of years ago, Kim: because this is what it always comes down to -- the student must submit and obey -- or else not, and that means "go elsewhere and stop blocking the road for other students who DO want to be here". "Submission" in the sense of having taken the time to carefully review the teacher, and "obey" in the sense of having done that, then trusting the teacher enough to do exactly as you are told. What else would a good teacher offer but their very best, their very most detailed explanation of exactly how to get a thing done? So Kim, what I'm saying is that you now need to go back and remember your own attitude as it was when you first wrote to me. You were not one bit pleased to be told that you needed to submit and obey. Now that you HAVE understood that for what it truly means, you must have compassion and understanding for those who are behind you on that path. -- Dr. Deb