I wrote in a previous post how much I loved Tom Dorrance’s books. In many of the stories that come up, his response is simple (maybe not easy): what happened before what happened happened?
People would ask him, “What do I do if my horse bites me?” Tom’s response was, “I don’t know, I’ve never been bitten.”
Which means, he never had it get to the point where the horse bit him. He was always reading them and correcting or responding to the first signs of a horse trying to bite him. Tom also never got a horse so frustrated, scared and so on that they would even want to bite him…
If your horse bucks, what happens before he bucks? What can you do there? If your dog pulls on the leash – what happens before that happens?
Does your bucking horse move his ears or tail a certain way, tighten or arch his back, take shorter steps, get a look in his eye, breath shallow… Does your dog pant, tense, get vocal? It’s the little things, but if we can correct before anything really “happens” or gets to the point where it is hard or impossible to correct effectively, huge scenarios are avoided.
So. What happens before what happens happens with you?