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Any teacher/instructor/trainer will encounter the resistance in students;  saying “I can’t do that” or “well . . . I’ll try . . ” with with fake belief, is not uncommon when pushing the boundaries of learning and confidence.  Although it can be a tricky undertaking – pushing students past their comfort level when you know they can accomplish more must be balanced with making sure they don’t fail miserably at the task and lose confidence.  This can be especially tricky with horses as they can have their own agenda during a lesson.

Today, proposing the activity of a “figure 8” pattern using two cones gave me the response “You want me do do WHAT? But the cones are so close together, I can’t do that!”.  Of course, I say “you certainly CAN do it! and you’re not getting off until you do…”, jokingly (sort of).   😉

So what started as “can’t” slowly melted into “well, maybe…” and a few more tries rolled into well executed figure 8’s ending with a perfect halt, and a smiling “I did it!”.   I knew she could do it. I knew the horse could do it. The hard part is getting the student to realize she can do it.  Seeing that proverbial lightbulb go on is the biggest reward for me, as an instructor.

                   “Come to the edge,” she said.
                           They said, “We are  afraid.”
                   “Come to the edge,” she said.
                           They came.
                   She pushed them  .  .  .   and they flew! 

– Guillaume Apollinaire