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Is the ego a barrier to new ways of thinking?

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  • Is the ego a barrier to new ways of thinking?

    Is the ego a barrier to being open minded for exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking for the equestrian?

    I don't think it's necessary to go in to detailed examples. Just the concept of how ego might interfere with continued self development.

    There's just something about how the human psyche seems to ascribe so much importance onto the facts that one knows, and the abilities that one is capable of.

    Some individuals seem to construct themselves around what they know, and what they do.

    Yet sometimes I think new ways of thinking, and being, are all around us, but only available if one has the "courage" to "let go" of their preconceptions of self.

    Maybe one might discover a new way of thinking, or way of understanding, that might take one further towards finding that which they may be knowingly or unknowingly seeking.

    I think the best example I might offer, would be to think of two or more excellent horse people that you personally know, and then think about the ways they are different, and the ways they are similar.

    Then ponder about what you respect most about each of them in the light of what makes each of them unique.

    Are the qualities that you respect in one equestrian, those that you might have a hard time ever imagining a different equestrian changing to becoming more like?

    Why? And also.... does change necessitate loosing something valuable?
    Last edited by alterhorse; Feb. 3, 2013, 01:02 AM.

  • #2
    Why do I think of Parelli as a grand example of that?

    He could have humbly tried to use that great idea of his to go on the road, present an entertainment show to teach better horsemanship to a culture divided, the western world, full of self taught and so many still reinventing the wheel every day, with the expected results full of failures.

    What did he and those at the top of his system do?
    Get hung up on some ideas and decades later still be hung up on them, letting those define them, not figuring they, as part of that culture, were also woefully lacking and should have kept learning all along.

    They could have been setting some standards to go by, but failed and became a strange side show in the horse industry.
    Roughing horses around unnecessarily in the name of training, inventing "new" ways of riding, cruising along discombobulated, clearly antagonistic to any real goal of what we may do with horses, that causes sore and even crippled horses (not that they are the only ones to do so, sadly, but it is a shame no matter where that happens).
    Fluidity, monkey riding, special crazy shoeing, lacking so much basic horsemanship and understanding most real horsemen understand is there and search for all their lives.

    I wonder how much you may say ego had to do with following their own star to the point of being blind to any other out there?
    What a lost opportunity, knowing the participants and in hindsight, decades later, seeing where they came from and are still today, stuck as a side show of the horse world.

    I would say, ego and a marketing plan that worked to make them very successful financially took away a chance to make a real difference, as they intended, by dismissing all that was centuries old knowledge and good.

    In anything we do, but especially working with horses, ego doesn't has a place, because horses have a way to humble us.
    Who remembers the Barney video, the grey arabian clunking and that being their standard for communicating with horses, what they taught?

    Those that don't understand that as teachers ego doesn't has a place, that the teacher learns every time just as the student does and don't learn to leave their ego at the door are bound to keep repeating the same, what is working and also what is not, blaming the horse/student when it doesn't work.

    All of us have our bad times, but I hope we learn from them and keep growing as horsemen and humans from them.
    My answer, I think egos tend to impede that growth severely, good question.

    Comment


    • #3
      Absolutely. There are a lot of 'legend in their own mind' type of people in the horse world.

      There are quite of few of them here on CoTH. Just look at the train wrecks, it is the same posters over and over.

      I would hope my ego would not prevent me from learning something new to better my interactions with my horses. I have so much to learn yet, it is sometimes overwhelming.

      To be fair to the clinicians, I think you HAVE to project a air of complete confidence to get people to follow you, buy your products, therefore making a living. Some are just more successful then others at the dazzle them with bullshit thing. And some are just good, solid teachers that want to impart knowledge. The trick is knowing the difference!
      Facta non verba

      Comment


      • #4
        It definitely does, and not just in equestrian disciplines.

        A group of us used to teach classes for the "ham" radio license exams, and some of the instructors were "good ol' boys". A few of the more "accomplished" students tended to look down on them because they acted and talked a little funny. Same as for our younger instructors. You could see it in their faces. Those students were thinking "what could someone so unsophisticated/young possible teach me?"

        But those "yahoos" and "kids" knew far more about the practical aspects of radio communications than many a multi-degreed college graduate.

        My riding instructor when I bought Normie was fresh out of Virginia Intermont (she graduated at the top of her class). She was nervous at first which I thought was because she figured I was going to keel over from a stroke or heart attack because of my age. After a few lessons, I had a little talk with her and that was when she told me that she had been very concerned when she started teaching this 50+ old f*rt because of our age difference and I might not to take the advice of one so young seriously. Within the next year, most of her students were adults and doing very well on the flat and over the rails, thank you.
        The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
        Winston Churchill

        Comment


        • #5
          Of course. Some people get into horses simply for the ego boost. As another poster said, check out the train wrecks. The TWH thread is a good example. When faced with the facts some people become blind.
          Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by alterhorse View Post

            Some individuals seem to construct themselves around what they know, and what they do.
            If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It is the "If what they are doing is working adequately well, leave it alone" concept.... as there usually are greater mountains to climb rather than to change what is working well.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
              Why do I think of Parelli as a grand example of that?

              He could have humbly tried to use that great idea of his to go on the road, present an entertainment show to teach better horsemanship to a culture divided, the western world, full of self taught and so many still reinventing the wheel every day, with the expected results full of failures.


              Actually, that IS what he originally did. I know a few people who went to some of his first clinics and they have told me that they were great. Absolutely nothing like the ridiculousness that he and his cronies are promoting now. The big change seemed to come about when he hooked up with Linda.

              I agree with lawndart-- there are a lot of Legend in the Own Mind types out there (and here on COTH). I avoid anyone who feels the need to impart their riding resume on me the first time we meet because, frankly, if they are selling themselves that hard, they are probably not the trainer they think themselves to be.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ddashaq View Post
                Actually, that IS what he originally did. I know a few people who went to some of his first clinics and they have told me that they were great. Absolutely nothing like the ridiculousness that he and his cronies are promoting now. The big change seemed to come about when he hooked up with Linda.

                I agree with lawndart-- there are a lot of Legend in the Own Mind types out there (and here on COTH). I avoid anyone who feels the need to impart their riding resume on me the first time we meet because, frankly, if they are selling themselves that hard, they are probably not the trainer they think themselves to be.
                I went to some of his first clinics, told him then that some of what he was doing was unnecessarily rough and reflected poorly on what he was trying to do.
                Yeah, that went over so well.
                The response was, "refined handling comes later, when more advanced.
                The roughness used to start is effective".
                Look at the first video he put out for a prime example of that.
                Sorry, I don't think we have to go there with horses but very rarely.
                We can start with fine handling, is the way it works best.
                Give it a try.

                Then, we don't want to make this good discussion about PP, that is for another day.
                I was using that as one example for what I was stating and I am sure there are many others out there.

                As some already said, big egos are also just part of some personalities.
                I do think that the real smart ones with big egos can work around that, not let that hinder them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There's been a lot of research done on this lately. Some of theses attitudes have to do with what are called "thinking dispositions" and "epistemological beliefs". Also a lot of work examining why people have such an over inflated opinion of their knowledge and abilities, why smart people seem dumb some times, and how IQ doesn't measure intelligence.

                  One thing that consistently comes up: people over estimate their capabilities consistently. Seems to be an inherent part of being human!

                  See also "Why Smart People can be so Stupid" (book), Unskilled and Unaware of it, Kruger and Dunning (journal article), "What Intelligence Tests Miss" (book).

                  Way more than you wanted to know I'm sure, but it's interesting how many people have taken up this topic.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alterhorse View Post
                    Is the ego a barrier to being open minded for exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking for the equestrian?

                    I don't think it's necessary to go in to detailed examples. Just the concept of how ego might interfere with continued self development.

                    There's just something about how the human psyche seems to ascribe so much importance onto the facts that one knows, and the abilities that one is capable of.

                    Some individuals seem to construct themselves around what they know, and what they do.

                    Yet sometimes I think new ways of thinking, and being, are all around us, but only available if one has the "courage" to "let go" of their preconceptions of self.

                    Maybe one might discover a new way of thinking, or way of understanding, that might take one further towards finding that which they may be knowingly or unknowingly seeking.

                    I think the best example I might offer, would be to think of two or more excellent horse people that you personally know, and then think about the ways they are different, and the ways they are similar.

                    Then ponder about what you respect most about each of them in the light of what makes each of them unique.

                    Are the qualities that you respect in one equestrian, those that you might have a hard time ever imagining a different equestrian changing to becoming more like?

                    Why? And also.... does change necessitate loosing something valuable?
                    It's called confirmation bias.

                    http://psy2.ucsd.edu/~mckenzie/nicke...mationBias.pdf

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Egos can get in the way of anything, not just horse riding. One of the main problems is people do not see themselves clearly. Seeing oneself clearly requires honest self reflection, and that can be quite painful. No wonder some choose to avoid that. Large egos build large barriers, and barriers stand in the way of moving forward. I have never really put much stock in age, sex, degrees, etc. I am more of a proof is in the pudding , and if you got it, then bring it to the table and lets get things done. I also dont paticularly like the smell of BS either.

                      But I am a simple farmer , and this is only my humble opinion.
                      Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hulk View Post
                        Egos can get in the way of anything, not just horse riding. One of the main problems is people do not see themselves clearly. Seeing oneself clearly requires honest self reflection, and that can be quite painful. No wonder some choose to avoid that. Large egos build large barriers, and barriers stand in the way of moving forward. I have never really put much stock in age, sex, degrees, etc. I am more of a proof is in the pudding , and if you got it, then bring it to the table and lets get things done. I also dont paticularly like the smell of BS either.

                        But I am a simple farmer , and this is only my humble opinion.
                        Now, now, you must not be injured or old, or you would be a bit kinder with requiring absolute proof of greatness.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          ooopsy, apparently I have been spending way too much time meditating again.
                          I am gonna use the not my fault clause there, winter and all, sure does cut down on outdoor playtime, which is essential for me.

                          But it is true that I dont care about gender age or degrees, if someone has something good to teach me I am all ears. In fact I am a bit of an info sponge, because most everyone you meet has something to offer , and I would not want to miss it due to preconcieved notions.
                          Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thanks all for sharing your insights on this.

                            It seems we can all mostly agree that the human nature of self identity, Ego, and how we learn, can perhaps explain how we come to develop our own individual "personalities" and "behavioral tendencies".

                            What do you all think about this in relation to the equine (the horse's) point of view?

                            Think of how certain individual horses may do much better in the hands of one individual vs. another.

                            Could we speculate that horses don't judge people on the same set of criteria that people use to judge other people....

                            Some individuals might base the importance of their relationships with others, on how highly esteemed they may view that individual to be in the eyes of the general community.

                            But I think we might assume that the horse is forming it's own judgments in real time, based on it's experiences with how it is treated by a person.

                            The horse shouldn't care "who" an individual "is" on the scale that humans use to rate each other. The horse is more concerned with how it is being treated in the moment, and how the horse feels about the way it is being treated.

                            I think my equine perspective on this subject, consists of the idea of separating out all those aspects of humanity that play no positive functional role within the Horse/Human relationship, and asking if what's left over, could be called horsemanship.

                            If this is the case, then just how much of our world view about horsemanship is clouded up with those human social concerns that have no constructive purpose towards producing good horsemanship?

                            Could we say that one of the greatest virtues in horsemanship is a healthy sense of humility towards allowing the horse to reveal it's own individual nature to us, so that we might work with each horse using select methods and personal demeanor that creates the best chances of developing the most successful outcome for each given horse/human relationship?

                            Am a wrong to view those who involve the horse with their own big egos and great personal expectations, with a sense of "puzzlement" over what it is they are tying to prove through the use of the horse?

                            Could it be that the some have projected onto horses their own egos in that their horses must be "perfect" "top athletes", "that win", and thus reinforce for the human their own self image of who they desire to be?

                            I do understand there are evolutionary dynamics at work for human "success" in all of this, but I think the real success is in fully understanding our own nature, and the nature of all things around us, and that includes horses.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I will respond to your first few paragraphs there.
                              I don't think we can lie to horses, they know us for who we are at a level that I wonder some times if we know ourselves that much.

                              You can watch horses responding to each person that walks by or approaches or works with them or rides them differently, they adjust to us, as much as we do to them, better the more we know them.

                              Starting many feral horses, that had never seen a person but a few days before we got them, you could see their wheels spin as they evaluated humans around them, each one for who they were and how to relate to them.

                              I think horses "see" us with more senses that we use, smell a very important one for them, that tells them so much about us and our mental state and personality characteristics also.
                              A little story about this, the fellow that first told me to pay attention to that, decades ago, was an international gambler by trade, a very successful one.
                              He also said that he, like horses, could "smell" people and that gave him an edge, he could "see" what humans were thinking by how they smelled.
                              He thought horses did the same. He was a very good horseman also.

                              Horses are, I think, very good at judging people.
                              Those that don't realize that or pay attention do so at their own risk.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Ah, now we are getting to the root of the matter. Yes horses see us for what and who we are. This is exactly why a horse is vastly different from one handler to the next. I guess if a horse likes you and trusts you it will come to you. I dont think its a thing that can be forced, or bought, it must be earned. To experience it is indeed a treasure.
                                Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by alterhorse View Post
                                  Thanks all for sharing your insights on this.

                                  It seems we can all mostly agree that the human nature of self identity, Ego, and how we learn, can perhaps explain how we come to develop our own individual "personalities" and "behavioral tendencies".

                                  What do you all think about this in relation to the equine (the horse's) point of view?

                                  Think of how certain individual horses may do much better in the hands of one individual vs. another.

                                  Could we speculate that horses don't judge people on the same set of criteria that people use to judge other people....

                                  Some individuals might base the importance of their relationships with others, on how highly esteemed they may view that individual to be in the eyes of the general community.

                                  But I think we might assume that the horse is forming it's own judgments in real time, based on it's experiences with how it is treated by a person.

                                  The horse shouldn't care "who" an individual "is" on the scale that humans use to rate each other. The horse is more concerned with how it is being treated in the moment, and how the horse feels about the way it is being treated.

                                  I think my equine perspective on this subject, consists of the idea of separating out all those aspects of humanity that play no positive functional role within the Horse/Human relationship, and asking if what's left over, could be called horsemanship.

                                  If this is the case, then just how much of our world view about horsemanship is clouded up with those human social concerns that have no constructive purpose towards producing good horsemanship?

                                  Could we say that one of the greatest virtues in horsemanship is a healthy sense of humility towards allowing the horse to reveal it's own individual nature to us, so that we might work with each horse using select methods and personal demeanor that creates the best chances of developing the most successful outcome for each given horse/human relationship?

                                  Am a wrong to view those who involve the horse with their own big egos and great personal expectations, with a sense of "puzzlement" over what it is they are tying to prove through the use of the horse?

                                  Could it be that the some have projected onto horses their own egos in that their horses must be "perfect" "top athletes", "that win", and thus reinforce for the human their own self image of who they desire to be?

                                  I do understand there are evolutionary dynamics at work for human "success" in all of this, but I think the real success is in fully understanding our own nature, and the nature of all things around us, and that includes horses.
                                  I think your post is a detailed version of how we can tell who is involved because they love horses and who is involved for their own ego gratification. Just about any of the heinous things we know have been done to horses can be traced back to human wants and desires rather than thinking of the horse itself. From the show ring to the race track - many many examples of how the horse merely becomes a means to an end.

                                  Pretty easy to see who is a good horse person and who is an egomaniac based on what you describe, especially from the horse's point of view.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Because horses live in the moment and their survival depends on sizing up the situation quickly and accurately, I too think they use "extra" senses to judge the intentions of their handlers. Whether it's auras or smells or simply body language, I don't know, but the longer you spend with them the more you realize that they "read" you as much as you "read' them.
                                    Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

                                    Comment

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