It is such a strange thing with theories. Some people love them and other people hate them. There are people who love some specific theories while they hate others. Some people find peace and trust in the structure and established procedure found in theories while others feel stuck and locked up in a cage because of it. I think I would describe myself mostly as the last mentioned example…
It is not that I don’t like theories at all, but I don’t like to limit myself with them. People who surrender 100% to a theory does not allow any space for differences in person nor horse than from who designed the theory. Usually they tend to shut out any kind possibility of change or openness for another way of doing things. That is where I have to step off the theory train! Theories can be a great help and support, but I can only see it as a limitation if you do not dare to make it your own or make adjustments on it.
I think the only ‘theory’ I am always sticking to is my gut feeling! Theories can provide me knowledge. Theories can provide me ideas. Theories can provide me a great foundation for new things. But theories can never surpass my heart, gut feeling and sense of reason.
Even though I love this ‘theory free’ way of approaching horses, it is not always an advantage to others. Especially not my students! Because how do you explain to them your gut feeling or pass it on? People almost always expect theories or “how to”-guides because that is so much easier. I know the feeling of searching for the answer and easy ways out, but if you want to be real to yourself and your horse no such thing exists.
A structured theory would be way easier to pass on in words, but the truth is that it is not what I believe in! I don’t want to just communicate some theory that somebody once told me about. I don’t want people to train their horses based on something that might worked for me or might worked for someone else in a different country. I want people to approach their horses with their hearts, their guts and their sense of reason and figure out together how things should be done!
What I have said doesn’t mean that advice is a bad thing – not at all actually. To be given advice as amazing and so profitable for everyone, but advice also allows space to make it your own. Advice is only a light push in the right direction and then you will have to figure out how to keep going that way yourself. Theories does not give you that opportunity of making them your own. They are as they are – unless you dare to make them your own!