Praise. It’s an interesting concept. At first blush it seems simple enough: do a good job, get praised. But, what if the job you did didn’t feel particularly good to YOU? Have you ever been praised for something that you were not particularly proud of? Made the praise uncomfortable, didn’t it?
Horses don’t over-think things the way people do. Our favorite kind of praise is when you STOP ASKING and get quiet. Oh, and carrots. I’ll do just about anything for a carrot.
Praising someone too much can make the praise meaningless. Even worse, when the praise doesn’t feel real to the praisee, it makes a person stop trying. They don’t want the praiser to realize the praise is not deserved, so they become hesitant to try. They become LESS confident, not more.
So how do you praise someone and have it affect them in a positive way? It’s actually very simple. Just ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT THEY DID without any qualifying statements. Instead of saying; “you rode great today!” be specific and say; “you did several correct canter departs today!” The difference is subtle, but powerful.
Just for today, praise those around you by simply acknowledging what they did, without any qualifying praise statements. Watch their faces and notice how they react to your words. Of course, you can bring ME carrots!