It sounds odd, but I'm actually really GLAD that I was never able to get a horse when I was a kid. My parents never could afford it, and though I did not resent them, I always used to wish for a windfall of some sort! But, the more I yearned for a horse of my own, the more I read books, and watched videos, and looked at pictures. I basically devoured everything I could get my hands on about horses. Because of that, I now have a good foundation of what the horse-human relationship should look like, IDEALLY, not just from casual encounters with other horse people. Not that talking to other riders is not also very helpful, but learning from the best of the best is a huge privilege that I might not have taken so much advantage of otherwise.
Now, you know a little bit of my background and how I think, so here goes! Something that comes up a lot whenever anyone else is around me & Mira is the thought, "Do I look silly?" It usually just sorta flits in one ear and out the other, but it is a consideration. To do a good job, though, I have to ignore that. I am learning how to give Mira MY full focus and concentration before asking for HER full focus and concentration. It is not fair to her for me to divide my attention when asking her to learn something - in fact, with horses, that is one of the best ways to upset them and sabotage yourself. I can chat with my friends or explain what I am doing later, at a more appropriate moment.
I also have to give up my pride, i.e. worrying about whether I look off-balance, silly, boring, clumsy, or whatever else I could think about. I have to ignore any embarrassment when she is not getting something or misbehaves. Who really cares how long it takes us to learn something? If it takes us twice as long, oh well! We will get there, eventually!
Basically, to be a good horse trainer, I have to be humble. If I'm not humble, I won't be any good. Period.
The um, "interesting" part about all this, is that most of the above applies to people-to-people interactions also, especially the part about doing what is right for someone no matter what it makes me look like right now. So far it has been quite easy for me to be humble in my "horse life," but it is so much harder in the other areas! Why is this so hard to learn? This can be sooo frustrating about me.
I guess that another thing I'm still learning is to really believe that "He Who began a good work in me will complete it..." (Phil. 1:6) It's not my responsibility to improve myself. Just as I decide every day what the training focus is for Mira, and what I want to improve in her today, so it is God Who decides what He wants to see me focus on learning each day, and God Who knows how much to assign me. And just like Mira, all I'm supposed to do is be at least kinda cooperative. God will do the rest! Phew! (I think...)
P.S. Two very good articles on this topic: