If you’ve ever attended a horse clinic hosted by a professional trainer, you may well have been amazed at how easily that person handled a green, high-spirited horse often having it saddled and ready to ride in 30 minutes or less.
You might think that such a person had been born with a special gift. That may well be true, but the gift was not an innate knowledge of horses. It is a combination of patience and perseverance, coupled with a willingness to learn and to work hard.
What is true for expert horse trainers and clinicians is true for chess grandmasters as well. The two have at least one thing in common, if not several. A 2006 article addressed the question as to what makes an expert. It also addressed the question of why a chess grandmaster could more often than not decide on which move to make in 5 seconds or less.
The answer is experience. The author of the article theorized that, no matter what field you enter, whether it is in business, engineering, medicine, or horse training, it takes years of experience to become an expert. Expertise is a learned skill, and not something a person is born with.
Skilled athletes make hard things look easy, grandmasters can make a rapid succession of moves without a second thought, and horse clinicians handle horses as if they were born knowing how to do so.
If you have just purchased your first horse, or have just taken up horseback riding, it may be a long time before riding or handling horses is second nature. One thing to remember is that the things that take a person to the top of his or her profession, and the things that will make you an expert rider, trainer, or handler, are things which are under your control. They are patience, practice, and perseverance.
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