We all start at the beginning

Children have such a natural way of learning, they're imaginative, love to play and most of all they're curious! They have no preconceived ideas of how things should be, or past learned behaviours that may need to be replaced with new habits and skills. No matter what we're learning we will go through these 4 stages every time we stretch and put ourselves outside of our comfort zone into the learning zone. We start out with unconscious incompetence where we simply don't know what we don't know! One day you might observe someone doing something different and it strikes a chord with you or you're like me and forced to look for a different way of doing things due to an injury that causes you so much fear that you are too scared to go into the paddock with your horse. We're a lot like the horse really where we only do what we think we should be doing or what we've been programmed to do, but in the horses view he's acting on pure prey animal instinct and only doing what he thinks he needs to do to survive and or what he's been programmed to do. Then we have conscious incompetence where we realise what we don't know! This can be the uncomfortable stage of learning where everything feels awkward and you might fumble around wondering what the heck you're doing. It is easy to give up and go back to what you know but please remember that frustration is simply just a lack of knowledge. How do you fix that, find someone with more knowledge than you and soak it up!

You'll start to realise as you increase your skills and habits that you'll enter into the conscious competence learning zone. This is when you start to feel a little like you might have a few more of those new skills and habits than you had before and that they are now the first things that come to your mind when dealing with certain situations. All of a sudden you'll enter into the unconscious competence stage which is when you don't have to think about what you're about to do next, it's habitual, it's like second nature.

No matter what we're learning we will go through these stages every time we stretch and put ourselves outside of our comfort zone into the learning zone. Principle number 7 of the Parelli programme is "Horses teach humans and humans teach horses", this is my 9yr old Arab x Dutch Warmblood gelding, Hail, teaching my 5yr old daughter how to start at the beginning with lateral flexion.

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