These past few months I’ve been working with a horse named Ben. He’s a big boy (part draft for anyone that knows about horse breeds); but even though he is big, he is insecure. I’ve learned that he is not comfortable with me being a passenger when I ride him or wishy washy when I work with him on the ground. He is more at ease when I am in charge, in other words, when I am the pilot.
Ben and I have a relationship in the making. I am learning him and he is learning me. With my horse Luc (RIP), I could give him more latitude and freedom because we had 10 years to get to know each other and he learned that I would be there for him if he needed me. Luc was happier if I allowed him some freedoms such as where to cross the stream or whether to trot or canter on the trails.
Ben on the other hand (I’ve learned the hard way), thinks he wants to be autonomous, but then gets too nervous if left to his own choices. So, I have a great challenge to find the balance between being a pilot but not micromanaging. How do I give him some autonomy and build his confidence but at the same time be in control, ready to take the wheel when needed. Every ride has a thousand moments, the back and forth, that’s what builds a partnership.
So, pilot or a passenger? Obviously when you are on a plane, it’s better to be a passenger and enjoy the ride. In life, as a parent, as a boss, as a co-worker, knowing when to be in control and when to give takes practice, and I am so lucky my horses give me lots of practice! Pi