Bad Horse Leader Baaddd….

Hello fellow followers! I am so excited to tell you about my new horse Zora (Aka The Queen) She is an OTTB Rescue who is slowly learning that humans are not so bad. She had some bad experiences after she retired and it’s taking her some time to learn that we aren’t all terrible.

We are all familiar with what makes a good or bad leader.  I am sure if you stopped for a moment you could think of at least 1 person in your life that was a great leader and 1 person who couldn’t lead themselves out of a paper bag.  I am guessing if horses could talk they’d probably have a few examples themselves.  I am pretty sure there are days both of my horses are looking at me like they’d prefer I was in a paper bag than standing there trying to teach them something.  More often than not I ‘think’ I am doing it right and they ‘know’ I am doing it wrong!

The other day I was working with the Queen on her backing up.  She is a rescue we’ve owned for about a month.  She had been with the rescue for about a year and was used mainly in their lesson program.  She is AMAZING under saddle, but on the ground she has some issues.  She had been abused prior to her being rescued so anytime you tried to touch her face she pretty much threw her head up and backed up.  (Imagine trying to halter this horse!)

We’ve been working on the concept of pressure and release from pressure and she is doing great!  She is smart and really figures stuff out quickly.  Next came the movement of her feet and the lesson about backing up.  So I stand in front of her and swish the rope. She jumps back and really gives me a wary look. OK Something isn’t right. Of course my daughter who is also my partner in crime is trying to not grab the rope from me.

She steps up and reminds me that my leadership is more pushing than leading.  You see my motions were simply too large for Zora. She needed me to make my initial movement smaller.  She was reacting to my over-reacting.  As leaders we often do the same we find something we need to correct with our team and we think that we have to go big to make the correction. Our team over-reacts because of our too big reaction.

Why not start small, have a 1×1 conversation, explain what you are seeing and why that might not be the best for the team. Then if things still don’t improve your actions can get bigger.  Just like me teaching Zora to backup I need to start with smaller motions and if she doesn’t react to that, then I can swing the rope bigger and finally I can then add a quick strike if she still isn’t moving her feet.  Now please don’t go hitting your co-workers! But you can progress from small to big.

Alot of times the issue is more of a miscommunication than someone really trying to do the wrong thing.
What ways have you found that you tend to react bigger than  you should? How can you resolve that?

 

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