Every horse is perfect. Every client is capable. As we return to lessons and our barns fill up with clients and volunteers and our horses take on a workload again, it is important to have grace for everyone.
Imagine if you walked into a room and a person steps forward and says “this is John, he isn’t very smart.” Or someone says “she can’t do this activity” or “don’t get too close, he is will push you.” How would you feel?
Now imagine you walk into a room and someone says “it’s great to meet you! I’ve heard so many nice things about you.” Or “I bet you can do this task alone, but let me know if you need help with it!” Doesn’t that feel better? Doesn’t that make you feel like you can do it? You want to be nice because it’s what someone expects?
That is what we want to give to our horses and our clients. Our horses will live up to the expectations we set for them, but we need those expectations to be fair. We cannot put our horses under extreme stress and not give them an outlet for that stress. Allow them to be a horse: turnout, play with the herd, eat hay, limit lessons, and give them regular exercise. If the horses are happy and healthy, you can expect the best from them and they will give it to you.
Do the same for clients. Ask clients to complete tasks, work independently, and challenge themselves. Each week, expect 10% more from clients. If they held the reins for 10 seconds the last lesson, expect 11 seconds this lesson. Expect clients to show up ready to work, ask them to do tasks and expect them to complete the task. Give them the time and support they need to complete a task and let them do it.
Have high expectations for your clients and your horses and they will meet them.