“Dare to ask questions. There are answers to any question.”
–Lailah Gifty Akita
I read this quote recently, and thought it’s that simple, but so many people seem to come unstuck when it comes to asking a question.
When I start a lesson with a new client, one of the first things that I’ll say to them – this is a three-way conversation. There are three of us here in the arena, each with a brain and an opinion…
I’m going to keep asking you, the rider, questions…. Do you feel that? Do you notice this? Remember how you felt when you were skiing down that mountain; hiking up that hill; doing somersaults in the gym…. Does that make sense? And, at any time, you, the rider can say – no. No, I can’t feel my right foot moving. No, I don’t get the feeling of tone from when I was shooting hoops. No, that picture of balancing a tennis ball doesn’t make sense in my brain.
The horse has a massive part of this three-way conversation. Who knows what the rider actually feels like? Who knows if the horse finds it easy to keep his balance, or if the rider is being left behind and is difficult to carry? The horse is the only one who knows what it feels like to be a horse, the only one to feel what it is like to carry this particular rider. The horse has the most important opinion of all. If the horse suddenly lifts his back, reaches into the rein, starts to move in a more balanced manner, he approves of the changes that the rider is making. If he suddenly hollows, tilts, twists, then his opinion is less positive.
But, what of the third part of the conversation? The rider must have a voice, dare to ask questions. Do we think we’ll sound stupid? Or show ourselves up?
As the lesson is unfolding, I’m asking “does this make sense?” And, I’m really hoping that the rider will say “yes, yes it makes sense, and how about this?”, or “what about that”.
“Can you explain something else?”
“Can I ask another question?”
“What about this?”
Believe me, no question is stupid – I’ve been asked a whole host more questions than I’d have thought possible… Some are showing me that I didn’t do a good enough job of explaining. Some make me think. Some are a lot more observant than I’d have thought that level of rider would be noticing. And some, I’ll say, yes, I’ll explain that in a lesson or two’s time, but today isn’t the day. But, are people wrong to ask the questions? Not at all, for every question there’ll be an answer.