Saturday, April 6, 2013


  1. Having or showing dogged determination not to change one's attitude or position on something, esp. in spite of good arguments or reasons...
  2. Difficult to move, remove, or cure.
obstinate - pertinacious - dogged - headstrong - obdurate

I'm sure that the first definition pertains to all of us at time.  Humans are generally particularly stubborn regarding politics and religion.   I once heard that a study showed that the human brain "tunes out" arguments that we don't want to hear.  I don't know if that study was reliable but it does seem that we believe what we want.  Horses are a little bit different, I think.  Let's imagine this scenario for a moment.  I want you to walk to your left.  I make up a gibberish term- "oka wawa"  for "move to your left."   I then look at you, firmly say "oka wawa!" and point to your right.  Chance are you would do one of three things; 1) nothing 2) whatever you wanted to do or 3) move to your right.  If I repeat the term, a bit more loudly still pointing to your right it would probably not make much difference.  If this continues and I begin to yell, or get physical with you, I would imagine you would leave or get physical right back!  Interesting then that so many students who are having trouble with a horse will tell me "He/She is being stubborn!"  I hear this term even more often from adults then children, perhaps because adults are accustomed to being understood.  While some horses do "show dogged determination not to change their attitude or position on something"  it is almost NEVER "in spite of good arguments or reasons" SPOKEN IN THEIR LANGUAGE!  The key is asking yourself if your cues are clear and correct.  Riders, particularly beginners, often use the wrong cues or use conflicting cues.  This does not make them a bad rider, it makes them a student.  Let's just try to remember that is is OUR attitude that we need to question first.

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