Baby Steps

The following is an excerpt from this week’s Study Group topic on Confidence – want more? You can join our awesome community of Miniature Horse lovers here!

Weekly Challenge #2 – Take a Baby Step

Once upon a time, if a horse was afraid of something then the accepted practice would be to force them to be around that something until they stopped reacting to it. Some people still do this now, but it’s called flooding, and only teaches the horse that it doesn’t matter what they do, so they give up doing anything – resulting in learned helplessness.

Most of us know that’s not the best way anymore. We can introduce the scary thing gradually, use classical conditioning to associate it with good things, give the horse choice and control over their interaction with the scary thing, and instead of jumping to the finished behaviour we can ask for baby steps and build gradually.

But we aren’t always that kind to ourselves.

When we lack confidence, we think we should “just do it”, we think we have to force ourselves to drive the horse, or back the trailer, or get that horse caught, or whatever else it is that we’re struggling with.

But the same approach that works for our horses will work for us too!

Baby steps are important, and they add up quickly. Just put the harness on the horse. Just toss the horse some treats. Just read a chapter in the how-to book. Just groom the horse. Just watch a video. Just go out to the barn.

What are you “just” going to do this week as a baby step towards building your confidence?


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