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How Horse Training Relates to Life

Earlier this year I discovered an Australian horse trainer named Warwick Schiller. Warwick has his own method for training horses and he has made it readily available to people all over the world through an online video subscription, where he shows you from beginning to end, how to ‘train’ a horse.

I have ridden horses on and off since my early teens however I had never really had a lot to do with training horses. Or so I believed. I knew a couple of people who had been following Warwick’s methods that were making some amazing progress with their equine partners and I began to wonder exactly what it was that made this program so successful.

Upon seeing the results that people were having with their horses I immediately signed up to the subscription and began to watch the videos. I instantly liked Warwick’s no-nonsense approach and the way in which he explained his techniques to the viewer. The further I got into the video subscription the more I realized that training horses also involved a lot of training yourself. You are effectively working on making yourself a better version of you, in order to make the horse a better version of himself.

You are probably wondering at this point how on earth could training a horse have anything to do with me and my personal life? Well, it relates a lot more than you would think! I thought it important at this point to circle back to my point of how I began riding in my early teens but never had much to do with training horses. This isn’t really true, because every time we are with our horse, every time we interact with them, every time we ask for something, we are effectively training them. Whether we realise it or not we are teaching them something – good or bad. The same is true with life.

Warwick’s program has taught me four skills which can be transferred to other aspects of life, not just training horses. Here they are…

1. Consistency

When we are training horses we should always be consistent, not only in what we do but in how we do it. We should be consistent in the way that we behave around our horses and be consistent when we ask things of them.

Horses learn through our ability to be consistent. We can’t expect our horses to become more consistent if we don’t learn how to be consistent ourselves. When we begin to become more disciplined, in order to remain consistent with our horses, we in turn begin to become more consistent in other areas of our lives too, like our relationships and work.

2. Patience

Sometimes when we train horses it can take days or even weeks to teach a horse a new skill. We can’t expect that our horse will pick something up, and retain it right away, and even if they do pick it up quickly we still need to work on refining the skill.

Training horses requires a great deal of patience. When we train our horses we are constantly working on our patience – it is normal to get frustrated and feel fed up, but every time we hit a road block we adapt and we learn how to become more patient.

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3. Respect

When we train our horse we are slowly building a relationship. We are learning how to trust our horse and they are learning how to trust us (and also, us them, find out here what horses have taught me about trust). But, most importantly, we are teaching our horse about respect. We are teaching him to respect our space, to respect our cues and to respect us as the leader.

When we are training our horses we are constantly learning about the dynamics of relationships and what it means to give someone your respect and what it feels like to be respected.

4. The ability to think laterally

Being able to think laterally is an important skill to have when working with horses. No two horses are the same, just like people, so what works for one may not necessarily work for another. This is where your lateral thinking skills will come in handy.

When we work with our horses we are constantly adapting, we are learning new techniques, learning what works for us and the horse and what doesn’t and most importantly, how we can overcome any road blocks we hit. We can then transfer the skills we learnt when training our horses to make us most adaptable in other situations.

What has working with horses taught you? Let me know in the comments below!

16 Comments

  • Reply Marina

    Awesome post and congrats on your nomination!

    Mar 23 at Mar 23
  • Reply Sandra HippoLogic

    Say Yes rather than No

    Turn your horses (or anyones elses) no’s into yes-ses by listening to their needs and make it a win-win

    May 02 at May 02
  • Reply tchoupomoting

    These are great tips ! I will use it in my photography.

    Oct 19 at Oct 19
  • Reply Kayla Palmer

    great thoughts here, know nothing of horse training, but love watching horses, learned a good bit here, thanks for sharing

    Aug 18 at Aug 18
  • Reply Claire Falco

    What a lovely post. I feel like the lessons you shared relate to so many aspects of life. I personally plan to apply them to my parenting, health, and various hobbies.

    Aug 18 at Aug 18
  • Reply Chrissa - Physical Kitchness

    Love this! I have a one year old that is starting to test me and I feel like I lot of these tips I need to keep in mind for parenting!

    Aug 17 at Aug 17
  • Reply Danii

    Consistency in every area of life can create massive results. As you put it, it is a discipline that can be used across all facets of life.

    Aug 17 at Aug 17
  • Reply Jess

    Loved reading about your comparison between horses and life. I don’t have a lot of experiences with horses but all these points definitely apply to life as well. I think that thinking laterally is so important.

    Jess | It’s That Time For

    Aug 17 at Aug 17
  • Reply Brittany

    Love these tips! So true for life in general! 🙂

    Aug 17 at Aug 17
  • Reply Mandi

    Perfection!

    Aug 17 at Aug 17
  • Reply Liz Landers

    I love this! I’ve grown up loving horses and it’s amazing what they can teach us and what we can learn from trying to teach them. I think the biggest thing is definitely respect. Horses learn to respect you and you learn to respect them. That’s how you both work together. It’s definitely something that translates so well with relationships with others.

    Aug 17 at Aug 17
  • Reply Tori Gabriel

    Great tips that you can apply to the every day!

    Aug 17 at Aug 17
  • Reply Jenna

    Lots to think about here. Great metaphor.

    Aug 17 at Aug 17
  • Reply Betty Jahns

    I’ve never had any personal experience with horses, but I really enjoyed this post!

    Aug 17 at Aug 17
  • Reply Shaniqua Garvin

    As a mom and supervisor this can apply to my life with how I work with my son and how I work with my staff. Those were great tips and a great read.

    Aug 17 at Aug 17
  • Reply Marie

    These are great tips! So very true in life and relationships.

    Aug 14 at Aug 14
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