While working with a new client for the first time, I learned a lesson in what unrealistic pressure we put on ourselves to know everything.
Even if we have never been taught or never had to learn this particular skill before, we condemn ourselves or are embarrassed that we don’t know what we are doing.
Tracey had me come out to help her with her quarter horse mare who was stopping under saddle and refusing to go forward. That was all the information I got upfront so we started from there.
We headed down to the arena, and I asked Tracey to go through her normal work routine with her horse. She stepped back and her horse took off at a gallop around her one full lap, then spun and turned the other way and went half a lap at a gallop and stopped.
Tracey repositioned herself and her horse, and then asked her to move around her. The little mare took off at a gallop going three or four laps until she came down to a trot for a couple laps. She then stopped and faced Tracey.
My wheels were turning in so many directions at this point. She needs to start out quieter, control her speed, not let her horse be in control and deciding all those factors. I could see the ‘under saddle for her lack of respect and not listening’ stemmed from the moment they entered the arena together. But, that was not the lesson we were there for.
As I talked through the things I saw, Tracey met me with embarrassment and almost a need to justify why they were where they were. Tracey said, “I just didn’t know how to do groundwork correctly. No one had ever taught me how to correctly lunge or do groundwork. I know that seems crazy that I don’t know what to do on the ground. All I was ever taught was how to ride.”
I felt Tracey’s embarrassment and could relate. How can we know everything? How can we be expected to know something we were never taught? Why are we so hard on ourselves if we don’t know something?
I told Tracey, “You can’t be hard on yourself for not knowing something that no one taught you. It is ok to learn something new. That is what the journey is about. I commend you for asking me for help. Now, lets get started together.”
That made me think over so many times in my life I was hard on myself for not knowing how to do something all the times I didn’t know the answer. It opened my awareness to treating myself gently. I tell myself now, all the time in fact, that it is okay to not know. It sure feels good to let that go.