But Can You Play the Fiddle? (why horses are like musical instruments)

What if….?

What if you are extremely good at playing the piano? You are actually really successful at it. You make some pretty good money off of it. You are talented enough to be able to teach other people how to begin to play the piano. You spend a lot of time traveling around playing the piano. And you can play a piano no matter what the piano looks like… Upright pianos, shiny black pianos, keyboard pianos, Your grandmother’s piano.

But then someone gives you a fiddle and you have a lot of braggadocio because you are so good at the piano and you smile confidently, put your hands on the fiddle and try to play it.

But a piano and a fiddle are two entirely different things. And while they belong to the classification of musical instruments And therefore the beginning foundation should be the same, a fiddle branches out into a whole different area of music than a piano does. A different technique, a different style, a different tone.

Does that mean that if you can play the piano well you cannot learn to play the fiddle? Or the drums? Or the mandolin?

Of course not. What it means is that you will have to learn how to work with those until you get good at them too. And it might take you a while, and you might need help from experts in those areas, but eventually if you set your mind to it you will be able to play other things.


Unless You start telling everyone because those things are not a piano and do not work like a piano does they are bad. They are worthless. They are outliers. They are never going to be anything. They are clearly too difficult of an instrument for anyone to ever be able to do anything with. Get rid of them. Destroy them even.

Now isn’t that ludicrous? It is isn’t it?

But here is how this relates to horses.

You may be a trainer who is a pretty successful trainer


Sadly You have only learned to train a horse that fits into your program successfully. You have only learned to train piano type horses and those type are your whole program. So when you get a fiddle type horse you will try a few times, it will not go well and you will send it back to the owner and say it is too difficult of a horse, perhaps you should sell it and get another. No one will be able to do anything with this horse if my program didn’t work for it.

How sad is that?

Horses come in such a wide variety of “musical instruments”. We think one of the saddest things ever is when a trainer refuses to recognize their limited repertoire is the problem, not the horse. This not only fails the horse but it fails people and it fails the horse industry as a whole.

Horse riders do the same thing.
They grew up riding one particular horse who was trained in a particular way and they were successful with it. They won Blue ribbons all of the time at the shows. They could leave it in the pasture for 6 weeks and pull it right back out and ride it off again bareback, blindfolded and backwards. But when they get a horse that has been trained in a different way or has a slightly different personality they label the horses bad instead of learning a new skill set and this is what gets horses sold over and over and over again.

And this exact scenario is one of the reasons there is a need for horse rescues and why nice horses sit in the pastures at these rescues for so long.

My daughter as a young girl in a lesson barn set a goal to ride every single one of the 29 horses in that barn. Over the years she did ride all but one and a few that came into the picture long after the goal was set. Learning to cope with all of that variety in discipline, background and breed set her up to be an extraordinarily capable and confident horse person.

Don’t settle for just being a piano player. There is So much more to learn about and practice on in the horse world. 

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