Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Big Problem

In only about 24 hours from Sunday evening to Monday evening I had my main problem in animal handling staring me in the face.

I'm soft.

This is something I didn't use to be. I'm not sure how it happened but this has been haunting me for the past few years. I am too soft to claim what I want, too soft to growl when I need to and keep at it with even more enthusiasm. I'm stubborn alright but too often tend to go the sneaky way to reach my goal which can be good but truthfully -it doesn't always work.

This firm element got beaten into me during my training for work. Two years of braintraining got me somewhere. If someone is not obeying instruction on the frequency I'm lighting quick draw out the no-nonsense part of myself. I'm really firm during those encounters.

I've been thinking about how I didn't use to be soft. I was more gutsy as a rider and was firm but fair. Now the firm part seems to be a joke. I can't keep my dog's attention well enough and my horse has gotten so bold he doesn't care about anything as long as he has things his way. Both are a treat to train and work with when the going is good. It just seems to be more on their terms than mine that they decide when to listen...

It's not that I don't believe in my abilities as a trainer. I am fair and I can be firm but it seems now that under pressure, I get soft.

Additionally, it hurts when people comment on something I am trying my hardest to prevent, as if it's all my fault and there's nothing I'm doing about it. I received two such comments this weekend on Bella and my horse and I do feel both were unfair in some sense, one less than the other. Maybe it's a sign of my weekness that I've been moping and feeling bad about it rather than "plugging into my controller mode" and dealing with it.

This week, I've sometimes just wanted to fall down to the earth and throw a big tantrum followed by an even bigger cryfest. However, there's a lot of positive signs as well, my animals are responding to my training and tonight my riding instructor even complimented my horse's knowledge after he gave up fighting her. Bella's pivot training is only lagging due to my own lack of time. This of course means that I AM doing something right. Now I just need to bring the Air Traffic Controller in me to my training sessions.

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