Using Correction Properly – Teachers and Horse Trainers

Correction is a means of setting boundaries. Correction is synonymous with refinement. All great teachers use correction. It isn’t possible to do anything well without pulling correction out of the tool box. Correction is NOT the same as discipline or punishment.

The proper use of correction is always a gift that builds confidence.

The three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. The three most important things when creating a new habit are practice, practice, practice. Imperfect practice leads to bad habits and failure. The only way to improve is to constantly correct mistakes and create productive habits.

Habits that bless us are built on one of three foundations:

  1. Muscle memory
  2. Discernment, or
  3. Spiritual memory.

A beginning must be established before you start thinking about anything more precise. Boundaries are established and successes are incremental. Corrections occur along the way when the path ahead narrows.

The program of incremental corrections that teaches Christians how to travel the path leading to the narrow gate of Matthew 7 is similar to the one used to teach kids to color.  First children learn to hold a crayon, then to keep color on the paper (not a wall), then to keep it inside the lines. Correction teaches children hand-eye coordination and introduces the concept of precision.

Never punish a horse that tries.

There is no way to measure success without boundaries or standards. In order for standards to be useful they must be understood by both the one who sets the standard and the one who is expected to live up to it.

The entrance to the path New Creations travel as they begin to walk with Christ is as wide as an ocean, infinitely broad and smooth. Simply going in the right direction is sufficient, like learning to mark with a crayon. As the journey continues forward every one of us will step off the right path; we color outside the lines. The Holy Spirit is the Master Corrector. Our direction of travel, like the crayon in a child’s hand, is corrected and we move forward once again.

Correction builds Confidence

Never correct an effort in progress. Never ever punish a try. Let your horse commit to a mistake before you correct his performance. Correction is not used to introduce or teach; it is used to make perfect.

Recently I drove into Fort Worth to pick up a new knee brace. The only reasonable way to get there was through the same intersection where I got a red-light ticket earlier this year. I didn’t deserve the ticket and scheduled a court date for six weeks later. I ended up paying the ticket in order to be with my husband as he underwent pre-op tests prior to a totally unexpected surgery.

My driving record would be spotless except for one ticket I deserved back in the early 1970’s, one in the 90’s I didn’t deserve, and this red light ticket. I don’t purposefully break laws and felt quite wounded when I had to pay the ticket. As a result I try to avoid that intersection whenever possible. Experience proved that I can expect punishment even if I have no idea that (someone thinks) I did something wrong.

The next time I went through that intersection I was so concerned about the offensive red light camera that my focus was not completely on traffic. It is a really busy interstate exchange and watching other drivers should be more important than anything else. BUT – I couldn’t stop thinking about that nasty camera. In response, I was prepared to stomp on the brake if the light even THOUGHT about turning yellow. I slowed and watched the camera, not the other drivers.

Prevent Anxiety and Avoidance Issues in you Horse

Nothing terrible happened and I let out a huge sigh of relief once I was back on I-20 headed home. So why am I telling you this?

In many ways horses are no different than people. Horses who are corrected or punished for an infraction or error they are totally unaware they made results in anxiety, avoidance, and fractured focus. Corrections must never be confused with punishment, whether you’re on the giving end or the receiving end.

The proper use of correction builds confidence in one’s ability to both understand a goal and to perform successfully. Using correction as a crutch builds confidence in the crutch, undermining the strength available at the beginning. The continuous use of a crutch weakens rather than builds.

One Hoof at a Time

Success is the result of precise practice.

Success is incremental. First you learn to keep the color on the page, then inside the lines.

The first time you lead your horse through a problem and he successfully finds the correct solution he is open to working with you a second time. By the time your horse has accumulated a history of one hundred successful lessons he will have both the habit and expectation of success in the next, and the one after that. Your horse will trust your leadership and have faith that in all things you will lead him to success.

Achieving Goals Requires Change

If you always ride your horse with a restricting rein you will always have to ride your horse with a restricting rein. Unless you give your horse the opportunity to fail it will never learn to succeed independent of the crutch of your hand. The only way your horse will ever learn to ride with a loose rein or no rein is to ride with loose reins or no reins.

The two bookends that support success are commitment and consistency. Precision and correction are essential tools to build consistent experience that produces success, one little bitty step after another.  Every big success is the sum of a series of tiny successes. Consistency in the progressive mastery of skills is measured, planned, predicted, and is the result of a cast-in-stone commitment to building a habit and history of success. Confidence comes from achievement.

 “With accomplishments come confidence and with confidence comes belief. It has to be in that order.” – Coach Mike Krzycwski

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Read more in Discipleship with Horses – Journey of Joy.

Practical. Inspirational.

Practical. Inspirational.

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