The Blame Game

Blog finger pointing

When I point a finger at you there are three pointing back at me

 It happens to all of us. There you are, giving it your all: all your time, all your money, and all your emotional currency. But…you didn’t achieve what you expected to achieve. You did not win. You didn’t get a 60% on your dressage test. You disappointed your coach. You just can’t get that shoulder in right after a year of beating your head against that wall. Your heart and soul ache like you threw your heart against that wall 1,000 times.

What did you get for your supreme effort of mind, body and soul?

Nada, nothing, bupkus.

Your frustration ebbs and anger floods in. You gave it your all. You were right. There must be something/somebody else at fault. Your coach didn’t explain it right. Your horse can’t seem to do it. Your friends think you aren’t talented enough. That judge just doesn’t like you.

It’s their fault you’re unhappy and frustrated.

Well, my friend, look closer at that hand that is pointing that finger of blame. There is one finger-pointing outward. There are three pointing back at you. This is not a cruel joke. The universe is trying to help you understand that the answer is not outside you but inside you.

The universe is not blaming you (you’re the one pointing a finger of blame at someone else). The universe is showing you where to find the fix for your feelings of anger and despair.

Great, fine, it’s all my fault. I’m a failure. I give up. I’ll stop trying. I’m going to take up bowling. At least I can’t hurt my bowling ball no matter how bad I am.

Ahem. Take another look at that blaming hand of yours. As you assault others with the finger of blame, three fingers are saying we support you. Those fingers calmly curve towards you every time your blame finger explodes.

What are those three fingers trying to say?

  • When you fold you middle finger you acknowledge your intent of only compassionate actions in training.
  • When you fold your ring finger you accept that you will make mistakes                  and that’s ok.
  • When you fold your pinky finger you admire yourself for having the gumption to tackle a difficult problem.

Those three fingers remind you that you are walking a difficult path with honor and to stay true to yourself and your horse no matter what the crisis.

Notice that when you fold one back one finger the other two quickly follow. In fact it takes concentration not to fold all three together. They are stronger together. That single finger-pointing outward is brittle and lonely. Misguided.

When you feel supported and hopeful the finger of blame relaxes, curls inward to join the strong three and the thumb closes the door on the ineffective blaming.

Blog rein grip

Now you have a strong, supple and supportive grip on the situation. The hand is ready to flex more strongly or soften quickly at a moments notice. Whatever response is called for at the moment.

Uncontrolled anger and blame result in the middle finger shooting upwards insulting everyone. You broadcast the blame to every one around you and it isolates you in your own hell. No hope, no help. Avoid the Dark Side–fold that finger back in and let the other fingers follow. You have within yourself everything it will take to turn back to a compassionate course.

Riding goals and riding aids are all about flexibility, adaptability and appropriateness. The route your riding journey takes is never a straight line from beginning to end. Your ability to adapt to difficulties and avoid obstacles will get you both safely to the goal in good humor as companions, as a team. The aids you use to shape the horse’s effort must match your theme of no blame only support and guidance.

Hold the reins of your life and your training with compassionate knowledge. Look for the small steps of learning to be your bridge to your larger goals. Should your journey take a detour into frustration, anger and blaming let your hand guide you back on course to a successful mindset and journey.

Ask yourself the question “What does my horse need?” and you will find the help you need within yourself and with the help of others to find the answer.



“stay strong through your pain
grow flowers from it…

“bloom beautifully
bloom softly
however you need
just bloom” — Rupi Kaur



Author: equestriannotebook

Welcome. After thirty years of immersion in the equine profession, during which time I trained horses and students across disciplines and breeds, I am embarking on a new expedition - blogging. My training philosophy focuses on improving the performance and partnership between the rider and the horse. The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences and to hear about yours. I look forward to taking this journey with you. My home is in Clermont, Florida on an 11-acre training facility with my husband Bill, our dachshund, Krieger, a couple of barn cats and the horses. My career brought me to Florida in 1990 as a working trainer and rider. I am currently serving as Vice President of Central Florida Dressage and am the editor of The Centerline, CFD’s eNewsletter. Below are a few of my credentials B.S. in Animal Industry from Penn State University U.S.D.F Rider Silver Medal U.S.D.F. Certified Instructor (T-2) U.S.D.F. Graduate (with distinction) Learner Judge Program U.S.E.F. Technical Delegate “R” F.E.I. Level One Steward The five years I spent as assistant trainer to Dorita Konyot established a life long philosophy and training style that I continue to practice and teach to others.

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