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…
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.
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.
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.