If I offered this to you as a tutorial I bet there would be many different reactions to such action…Some of you might think: you can’t just learn how to breed a foal with two heads in your back garden, someone else might think: that’s impossible, science didn’t go as far yet, or yeah, that’s totally likely, or that’s wrong! , cool! how do I do it? will it help with research into headshaking?? – well, let’s just say there would be many views on this before we even got to me teaching you how to start the breeding process of this creature.
All those views and your willingness to learn how to breed a bi-headed foal will strongly depend on your beliefs, your knowledge of science and its uses, your idea of what is right and what is wrong as far as scientific experiments go. You will consider whether such experiment could be painful or uncomfortable for the animal concerned and how would it fare in later life, right?
Now, what if we think about something else to learn about…like, what exercises to do to strengthen rider’s core muscles? How to start your young horse? How to ask a horse to round his back?
The more I teach the more I see that, as far as effectiveness goes, it doesn’t really matter how things are taught but how the riders see the subject..what they know, what they believe is good or bad for their horses. You might be teaching something very valuable but if rider believes otherwise, whether they are right or wrong, they will not listen or even try to understand your point of view.
Equally, if their beliefs are such that they see your point, they are happy to try very new things even if they don’t know much about the outcome.
One rider might not see any correlation between own core strength and horse’s way of going. Another might believe it is impossible for the horse to balance well with a weak, gelly-core rider. Now, which one will pay attention when the role of abdominal muscles in collection is taught…
Take a “good, old” barefoot vs shod debate. If you believe an equine hoof is a living matter that needs to expand upon hitting the surface, that it needs different ground stimulation to improve proprioception and that all this is of utmost importance to overall soundness of entire movement apparatus of the horse it will be very hard for me to convince you to put rigid, metal, nailed material to your horse’s hooves. If, on the other hand you strongly believe your horse’s horn is delicate, his soles painful and he needs protection of the shoe, that it provides a much needed help for him, absorbs concussion and let’s him perform to the best of his abilities – I am going to be fighting a lost battle trying to convince you to go shoeless.
Bottom line is, we believe some things are good, some are bad. And we generally want best for our horses.
The learning process fascinates me exactly because it is so intertwined with our beliefs. It would seem that if you really want to teach something you need not teach that thing but to explore and understand the intricate pattern of student’s convictions about a subject.
Conversely, it would seem that if you really want to learn something new and open your mind you might have to forget about your beliefs and preconceptions?
What do you think? Have you ever thought about your beliefs when being taught? Have you ever pondered about, why do I consider this method as wrong but that one as good?