Are tools bad, or is it the people who use them?

I saw a post on social media the other day where there was a man riding a horse. He was completely kitted out with spurs, a leverage bit and a whip. He got absolutely slammed for using all of these tools on his horse.

Instead of looking closely, people were simply judging him based on his tools: no one was looking at how he was using the tools. What I saw was a man who was riding with such lightness he was barely touching the horse with his spurs, his whip or the bit – it was merely a means to a very effective communication that he had developed with this horse. These tools allowed him and the horse to communicate at such subtle levels you could barely see signals the man was sending to his horse.

He had achieved such lightness with this horse That he was able to use the tools like they are meant to be used. He was QUALIFIED to use these tools, as was his horse. He had the combination of exceptional timing, communication and skill.

It’s not the tool that’s being used, but who is using it that counts.

Unfortunately, these tools have been abused so badly that understandably people are quick to judge and may think it’s the tool itself that is the perpetrator. Before rushing to judgement, remember that tools are inanimate things – they can be hurtful and dangerous in the wrong hands and useful aids if used correctly, with respect and gentility.

These tools are put into the wrong hands every day: inexperienced hands, hands with bad timing and ineffective communication. This is where education is needed – matching the correct tools to the level of the rider and the horse, and never trying to fix communication problems with stronger tools!

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