The Limping Horse Trainer

When I was in college, I began collecting parables and stories from various traditions. Some have acted like wise mentors to me during my teaching career, so I’d like to share them with you. I have lost track of the sources, so I will retell the stories in my own way. Here’s the first one:

There was a horse trainer who had been injured while riding a horse as a child. As a result, he walked with an obvious limp. His accident didn’t affect his love for horses, so he enjoyed making his living as a horse trainer. He took his work quite seriously. He was meticulous about his methods, and taught all his horses to do everything correctly. Yet, somehow, something strange kept happening. Though the trainer never taught them to do so, all of his horses eventually developed a slight limp.

Such a valuable story for teachers! Whenever a student of mine is deficient in some area, it reminds me to ask myself, “Is this student mimicking my unconscious fears and limits? If so, what can I do about that?” Such self-reflection has prompted me to keep growing as both a teacher and musician throughout my career.

I think the narrow aims of modern educational practice have made us all into limping trainers to one degree to another. Do you agree?

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One thought on “The Limping Horse Trainer

  1. As piano teacher and amateur horse trainer who is currently limping from a broken toe, this hits the (horseshoe) nail on the head for me in more way than intended. I think all teachers pass along their limps. It’s up to each musician and teacher to try to compensate for these through a greater community of mentors.

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