Volume 16, Issue 25
“I never teach my pupils. I can only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”—ALBERT EINSTEIN
A good teacher is not someone who simply explains a process and then expects its understanding, but rather someone who guides their student through the process while providing knowledge, understanding, and leadership through example. Shayne teaches his students this way each and everyday and there is no better student who exemplifies this than Des.
For our first ever women’s only 10-day working ranch experience Shayne turned Des loose for her first solo teaching guest run and it was clear from the start just how disciplined she is and how much she believes in trusting the process.
When people come to ride with us they see Des and just how competent she is as a cowboy and they make the assumption that she must have always been that good but she will always be the first to tell you that she used to share all the same fears we have while learning to ride horses and really had to fight through them to get to where she is nowadays. There’s nothing we face that she hasn’t already been through which makes her ability to relate to her students all the more meaningful.
Des worked with her students demonstrating the fundamentals with clear explanation backed up by a solid demonstration that was repeatable by guests on their ranch horses. Each day she would touch on these fundamentals for a short while before introducing the class to an exercise in which they could use them, say opening gates or riding with only their legs or having their horses kick a soccer ball down the arena without being afraid.
She also has this exercise where she has you canter with no reins so you can better feel and use your seat to drive the horse while she supports you with her horse and flag. She does it in such a way that you forget any fear you have and really start to feel what the horse has to offer you. In most cases everyone wants to go around with her more than once because they feel so secure and are genuinely having the time of their life cantering around!
Having known Des for several years now and knowing her background and where she came from I can truly say she is completely in this for the horse. Everything she does, every move she makes, every correction is to better establish her connection to the horse, to build that unbreakable bond.
During this 10-day she gave us all a demonstration on how she starts the colts here at the ranch. She explained her process and how she never strays from her list of steps she needs to accomplish before saddling a young horse. When asked by a guest “how long does it take” she always responds with “however long it needs too. It all depends on the horse”. She never rushes and is incredibly methodical, just like she is with her students.
Des and her crew here at McGinnis made sure that they never gave up on their students and always pushed them to be better than they were when they started. The classes were filled with challenge and encouragement and each student was able to find success and felt like they were better when they ended the day. That, to me, is the mark of a good teacher and student relationship.
Des embodies what it means to be a cowboy and she is constantly striving to be better than she was 5 minutes prior. She is relentless in her pursuit of becoming a true horseman and to stay true to the process Shayne and Buck has taught her. She also passes that down to her crew of wranglers and it’s clear in how they teach as well. It was really great to see her take the helm for the week and I know for a fact the women of our women’s only week really enjoyed their experience with her and the McGinnis team.
While listening to the women talk at dinner about their days in the arena there was an overall theme to how they felt about the teaching and the week in general. They would rave about how amazing the ranch horses were, playfully arguing about how each persons horse was better than the others. They also couldn’t believe that so many good young, hardworking people existed in the world anymore, referring to the crew who made it their mission to make sure that this group of guests experienced their best stay possible. Truthfully it almost felt like a vacation for us too, we all had so much fun!
Until next time friends…