These days we’re hearing an awful lot about “fact checking”. People love to say stuff because it sounds good at the moment. How often do we see this within our own horse community? The fact of the matter is (pardon the play on words), sometimes something sounds really right when there just are not facts to back it up.
I get lots of requests to get articles, lesson plans, and classes up online so everyone can have them to use. One of the things that takes the longest time for me, is my own personal fact checking.
When I write an article, a lesson plan, or, on the largest scale, prepare a class, there are a whole lot of facts, assertions, and theories involved. The tough thing is, I’m my own toughest fact checker.
Of course, unless you consider my students… they’re pretty tough fact checkers too (although they often don’t know that they are providing me with that service.) Then again, maybe the real toughest fact checkers are the horses, because, let’s face it, they seldom are willing to tell you what you want to hear. They just repeat what you’ve told them.
When I write for you, it’s a pretty involved process. I sit here, at my computer and start pushing thoughts and experiences out onto the keyboard. That part can be pretty tricky. I feel like a bird of prey circling around high in the sky hunting for the right words down there on the ground. I know what it is that I want to communicate, I know how it is that I move, what I see, hear, feel, and how I react. The trouble is, finding ways to put that into words and examples that anyone can understand is precarious.
One set of conditions can’t be met if a certain set of preconditions haven’t been met yet. Of course, in order to meet those pre-conditions, you have to have a fundamental understanding of… I spiral around, sometimes with three or four concurrent pieces running at the same time. (Truth be told; this post came out of a completely different subject I’m writing about right now!)
Once I’ve spotted my quarry in words, I dive headlong into it.
I write like a madman, sometimes for hours at a time. It’s frantic, disordered, and all engrossing, and the results are messy. Honestly, if you had to try to read some of my first attempts at a subject, you might not think I was writing about training horses at all!
So I set it aside, and come back to re-read it later to try to make sense out of it. Then I take that in my head with me as I go out and train or teach. I test the theories and explanations out. Believe me when I tell you that there are lots of things I can come up with at the desk that really just don’t work in real life.
When I get back to my desk, I update the teaching. Maybe I re-order exercises in a lesson plan, or I find a better explanation for an article. Other times I start with the graphics. Oh! the graphics. They are my favorite little rabbit hole to fall down. Over the years I’ve amassed thousands of pictures and videos of horses. Yet, somehow, none of them quite show just what it is that I want you to really see and understand. So I start creating my own horses and humans to illustrate my point. Of course, sometimes it comes down to “If I can draw it, I can explain it.”
When it works, it really works!
Then I put the updates, and pictures, and drawing aside again. More lessons and training happen, and I start to zero in on what really works. When it works, it really works! I love it when that happens. It all seems so easy once I’ve found the formula. Then finally I have to come back to the desk again to create something that you can really use in your daily life with your horses.
So this ends up being my long-winded apology for not having more available for your consumption quite yet. Everything that I put up here on the website has to go through this process. Even things that I’ve already written and published years ago (don’t forget, every day, I’m learning as much as you!) One thing that you can rely upon is that anything you find here has been fact-checked, crossed referenced with many sources, and tested with the most important resources, the horses and students that I see every week.
Peruse the site, read the posts, and dive into the articles and lesson plans that I do have available. Each one will give you a lifetime of service. They already have for me!