Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.
The path of least resistance is real. We see it all around us, from the rain running down in a stream away from our barn, to the natural ways we can train and work our horses. We have to approach our day to day in a way that will set us up for success. At the end of the day we want to feel accomplished and successful, right? I know I sure do. So how can we better our odds of feeling this way after work, after a day at a race or competition, or a training session with our horses?
How can we apply the principle of “make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard” to our advantage? How can we use our own path of least resistance to set ourselves and our horses up for success? This idea is something I learnt from training barrel horses and something my mom has taught me from her time training dogs. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it applies in many areas of our life.
Let’s uncover how it works! Imagine again the path of least resistance, it’s easy right? It flows naturally, it all goes in the natural direction. Meaning, you can get the work done with the least amount of effort and struggle potentially involved. There are simply less obstacles for you to overcome. Meaning, we can control and structure our days and training sessions in that way. We can make the right thing easy like the path of least resistance and the hard thing full of it, with all the obstacles and resistance.
This is a part of the foundation to training horses. We want to show our horses the path we want them to take, we have to clearly identify the path of least resistance. It doesn’t matter what discipline, but we always have to remind ourselves of this principle.
A riding example is making perfect circles. They’re important for me as far as training barrel horses, but choose whatever aspect of training you’re working towards. But here, our goal is perfect circles. We want to think of the circle as the path of least resistance or the most comfortable path for our horses. We begin by setting up our circle correctly, once they are going we allow them to go on their own, but if they fall out or into the circle, we correct with our leg and/or rein which is a resistance for them. But once they are in the proper position again, we give them the opportunity to hold themselves naturally in a way that is the most comfortable for them.
Eventually the horse knows that that path of least resistance is to hold the circle correctly on their own. The cool thing about this is we allow for mistakes, we allow for things to go off track and we give ourselves the opportunity to correct as we go. This approach helps me understand how I am influencing my horses. Am I being fair and giving them the chance to decide what the path of least resistance is for them? Am i allowing for them to make the mistake before i guide them on the better path? This way they, like us will actually learn through our process and develop a better understanding of right an wrong.
When I apply this idea to my own personal life, I feel my goals are more attainable because i know which path is the least resistant and i try to strategize my days to make it happen!. We have the control to plan our days to allow for success, just one small successful step is all it takes.
Eventually with consistent effort, we will be able to set up everything in our lives to guide us down the path of least resistance. We can accomplish the things we set out to do, we just have to set ourselves up for success by making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.