Friday, March 02, 2012

An amazing article ... about a showjumping genius ...

Parsed seriously for y'all (getting ready for Webb!)  this article has real gems for any animal/human sports team. Its about Bill Steinkraus, a horseman of distinction, with lots of thoughts to contemplate!

first up some random thoughts pulled from the article and turned into agility thoughts:
  • any feeling of drama, any hint of difficulty should be meticulously disguised
  •  unity achieved by the harmony of individual parts
  • there is a place for drab perfection- and those who understand what they are watching with appreciate it
  • elegant mastery
  • Applause offers no nourishment to someone running for themselves 
  • you can be sustained by sure knowledge of the course
  • a resounding triumph of reason over emotion 
  • learn a lot of control to avoid communicating my anxieties 
  • you should know the capabilities of your dog and yourself, then you can often expect to get what you ask.  immunize yourself  to disappointment,  never expect complete success
  • Practice the things that are hard for you
  • Analyze why something is difficult, then work until it is not
  • Only a really great dog can learn to ignore the human
  • any dog can be turned into a "useful citizen"
  • let them enjoy what they are doing and help them do so
  • one must build up a mutual trust
  • If a certain method of teaching has got results it is used indiscriminately on everyone without analyzing if it fits the needs of that particular individual

and then a few larger, more specific quotations with adaptions- the strike outs are my changes 

 "A natural athlete ... can rely on power, strength and instinct.... If you don't have one of those rare horses dogs that can jump almost anything from almost any position, you then have to analyze the horse's dog's strong and weak points and learn how to make the most of them. It's like working with people: if you want to exploit use a person's talents you don't do it by using his weak points."

"If the horse dog is willing, and Lord knows he is an extremely generous animal, often more than people deserve and if he is able, and by that I mean placed in a position where he can do the possible, then it is about 99% certain that he will jump run clean."

 "I'm still convinced that for any consistency of performance ... the only answer for me is training and control. By control, of course, I don't mean just the horse  dog for, in order to achieve that, as I've said before, the rider human must have complete control.... I remember when I was a child, I had a very bad temper—probably the result of being the youngest and most indulged. But when I was in my teens I spent a lot of time around a horseman with an even more ungovernable temper than I. Seeing the results of those rages on both people and horses animals taught me such a lesson that I set out to learn how to handle mine. The result is now that it is almost impossible for me to lose it—to really have a temper fit." (so true for me now too - amazing!)

" The most important thing to me is not winning, although I certainly like to do that too, but knowing after you have finished a course that you have exacted the maximum performance from yourself .... That you have given to the fullest all the talents you both have to give. Achieving that, it doesn't matter to me, personally that is, whether I win or lose. " (and suddenly you know why the article entranced me)

All of the above leads me to this and ties so tidily to a conversation I was having earlier this week I simply can't ignore it.  Things happen because of a sequence of events at a trial. A rail doesn't come down because of bad luck; nor is a contact missed by chance; these things happen because of mistakes: both human and canine and when they happen it's because the human failed to communicate effectively with their partner. Showing your anger, or frustration to your team mate is counter productive at best and down right damaging at worst. 

This is Theodore - a singleton puppy born by c-section to a mom in our program back in 2008, 
and revived by me while vet worked on mom... he now leads a happy, spoiled life 

and a gratuitous cute shot in case you made through the far too text rich post!

1 comment:

Sara said...

Interesting stuff!