Back in the 1980’s I worked for a large corporation in quality control. Our department dealt with some behind the scenes, scientific data that made a difference in the quality of product we produced but had very little outward value to the people making the product. One of my jobs was to make the scientific data mean something to the rest of the plant I worked in so that they would want to do things the “right” way. Because very few of the people I was working with had any background in the subject, I soon found that I had a big challenge on my hands. One day in frustration, I complained to my boss, “These folks don’t even know what they don’t know.” The solution, of course, was to create a desire in my fellow employees to know more, to learn about something they had not previously been exposed to.
I think about that when working with horses. Young horses haven’t been exposed to much, older horses may be in the same boat or they may have been exposed in a way that left hard spots in them. People can be the same way. Some are “green” and haven’t been exposed to very much information on how horses operate and think. Others have been exposed to lots of information but, have had diffuculty sorting through what will work for them and their horse and what won’t. The fun part of teaching is to create situations where either a horse or a student develops a desire to know more or search for an answer and then watch the “light bulb” come on when they find that answer!
I remember Ray saying, “The horse knows when you know, and he knows when you don’t know.” If you were to compare what I know about horses to what Ray knew, you’d conclude that I didn’t know much but, Ray gave me the impression that he felt the same way. It’s a learning journey, horsemanship is, and if you’re willing to strap yourself in and go for a little ride, it’s a fantastic journey full of twists and turns and new stuff everyday. Look to the horse and the teachers you trust to expose you to the things that you don’t even know that you don’t know, yet. What you find today may be the key to a fantastic breakthrough tomorrow or ten years from now. It doesnt’ matter when it happens, what matters is that you’re searching!