One important part of being a good leader is to also be a good teacher. In a very funny video titled “Ponies” by the comedy team of Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, we see two hapless, but happy, riders trying to teach their horses how to jump. Because they are ineffective at teaching, their horses perceive them as leaders that can be ignored.
Dawn’s character is riding Peter Pan. She walks him up to a jump and asks him to go over. We had seen earlier in the skit that she had little control over Peter Pan. He’s just as happy to ignore her and graze. Dawn’s first mistake is to try to teach something when she doesn’t have Peter Pan’s attention or respect. She should work on that before she even tries to teach him something.
Jennifer’s character is riding Jigsaw. In comparison to Peter Pan who wants to just graze, Jigsaw wants to go. Jennifer ask Jigsaw to go over a low jump, and he just runs around it. Apparently, he is not ready to do this jump. She could ask him first to just go over the rail with it on the ground. When he is happy doing that, she can go for more by going over a slightly higher jump. This allows Jigsaw to gain confidence in himself as well is in Jennifer.
At one point, Jigsaw knocks down the rail of the jump. Jen calls him a “stupid bugger.” As a leader, she is not taking responsibility for her own actions that cause Jigsaw to “misbehave.” Jigsaw is just doing the best he can with what he knows. It’s the rider’s responsibility to make sure that her horse is ready to perform the tasks she asks him for. When she doesn’t take that responsibility, she fails as a leader.
When you watch these comediennes in this video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWd_r2sOPhs, look for how lack of leadership makes their horse experience much more difficult, even though they seem to have a good time.