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jrlewis's picture

Is This Dangerous?

Education is risky. Especially when a fifty year old man is trying to learn how to ride a horse. Even more so in the absence of a trainer or any sort of traditional instruction. As an amateur rider and friend, I offered my horse and equestrian expertise. What follows is an experiment in open-ended transactional inquiry. The man mounted the horse, had his equipment adjusted, and was told to do whatever he wanted. The ride continued for almost an hour without incident.

At this point it is important to consider the role the horse is performing. The horse is the teacher or trainer here. She is setting up a situation in which the man can experiment and observe. The man will try to summarize his observations and then collect new observations. He is asking questions about his own capabilities, such a posting to the trot. He is also inquiring about what the horse considers acceptable. She will respond to commands that are essentially correct in concept if not perfect in execution. She is teaching him about which signals conflict and which are complementary.

However, this horse is a seasoned show horse, capable of responding to the subtlest of commands. By working with this horse, the man is learning to refine his commands. Someday, he will have the same level of subtly as I do when riding her. With each ride, the man's story or theory of riding becomes slightly less wrong.


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