ADHD, Video Games, Multi-tasking, and Horse Training

I wonder about a lot of odd things. This morning I realized I had “fried” my brain in much the same way I “fried” that of my first show horse, General Silver, some 25 years ago. In the course of my morning wonderment I came up to a question about ADHD (ADD?) and video games. I’m going to ask for your opinion since I don’t have an answer to the question.

But first, a little background.

The Temptation of Abundant Talent

Once we established a relationship when he was a two-year old, I discovered that General Silver was so athletic he could do anything. Out of my ignorance I endeavored to teach him everything. On Monday we did western pleasure, Tuesday was hunter hack, Wednesday was reining, Thursday was trail, and Friday western riding (patterns of flying lead changes.) General was smart and oh so talented.

General Silver

General Silver

Because he COULD, I figured he SHOULD. General taught me as much about how NOT to train a horse as how TO train one.

One morning I went to the barn and found him rocking back and forth in what one could only describe as an equine fetal position. His head was hanging over his water barrel and he was “absent.”

Thankfully I realized what I had done — I had fried my pony!!! The GUILT. The ANGST. Time for a new plan.

General and I rode the hills and washes of the high Sonoran desert for a month. I asked for nothing more during his training time than to simply get from home to the hills and back. We bushwhacked. We bonded. We decompressed.

The next year General and I made it to the Top Ten in the nation.

Multi-Tasking and ADHD

Everyone multi-tasks. The exponential explosion of ADHD is highly publicized and cited as a leading CAUSE of failure and depression. Multi-tasking is, by definition, failure to focus on one thing at a time. ADHD is, by definition, the inability to maintain focus on one thing at a time.

It seems that the more ability we have the more we try to achieve. I bounce from horses to writing, website development to marketing, audio software to horse obstacles, apologetics to the problem of grass burrs. There are many more bouncy places that these few, but you get the idea.

I know many of you deal with the very same temptation. Because you CAN, you believe you MUST.

Everyone assumes (at least I do) that multi- tasking is a choice and ADHD is not. I fried poor General because I didn’t allow him to focus on one thing long enough to master it before moving on. I multi-tasked him right into dis-stress!

I get that. The lesson General taught me – and a comment I answered on Facebook yesterday – made it clear. My bad. That’s how I figured out why I felt like I did yesterday. I had over-multi-tasked.

So, here’s my question:

“Do people with ADHD play video games?”

If so, are they able to finish a game or do they bounce away to something else?

If people with ADHD can focus to play a video game, why can’t they focus elsewhere? Some people might have met General on the day he was “absent” and diagnosed him with equine-autism. If folks watched our weekly lesson plan they might conclude we were both suffering from ADHD. The truth was, I had a lot to learn as a horse leader.

I am acquainted with a lot of folks who claim ADHD or to have a family member with it, but I don’t know anyone well enough to answer the question myself.

The answer to the previous question will help to answer this one:

Is failure to focus a choice, a disability, or a reaction to circumstance?

The answer is probably, “Yes, yes, and yes.” But what separates one yes from another? In any situation only one is true. I’m really looking for answers. What do you think?


And while we’re on the subject of focus — how often do you give Jesus your complete undivided attention? Just asking…


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