Saturday, July 24, 2010

Things My Horses Have Taught Me

Part One

For your entertainment and mine as the heat continues to sizzle I offer some unique insights my long association with horses has taught me over the years.  These are totally random and listed as soon as they come into my head rather than with some kind of logical organization.  So here we go:

There may be more to life than a carrot, but not much.  Watch your horse enjoy a sweet carrot or some other tasty treat and you will see a totally "in the moment moment."  The rest of the world fades away and the crunch envelops you in a sense of total contentment.  Worries vanish as peace takes over.  Everything that was a "big deal" is no longer a "big deal," and even the worst event of the day is gone.  We can learn a lot from our horses then.  Just let go and enjoy the flavor, even if it lasts for a short time.

You can lift more than your own weight. It's all a matter of how you approach it.  For women who own horses and have to do our own barn chores, this is a key lesson.  In the old days, all the bags of grain were 100 pounds.  Could I carry one?  Not full, but if I divided it into two bags by scooping some out into an empty bag, sure I could   I could drag one of those really heavy stall mats by rigging up a pair of squeeze pliers and a rope fastened to the tractor.  And twenty five shovelfuls of sand in the wheelbarrow might not fill it, but half a barrow is better than none and I could get the job done.  The heavy work of horse ownership teaches us to work around big problems, making them into smaller ones we actually can handle. 

Don't be intimidated by someone taller than you.  This one stood me well when I began teaching and my students were six foot tall teenagers who didn't always want to do what I wanted them to.  Fact was, they were smaller than my 16.1 hand horse and he didn't scare me one bit.  I'd always found a way to train him or keep him under control, so a classroom full of kids was hardly a challenge at all. I think most horsewomen I know seem to radiate an outward strength and confidence. It's a good skill to develop.

Losing hurts but it doesn't kill you.  I certainly have a lot more ribbons that aren't blue (here in the USA, blue is for first place, not red) and I've survived just fine.  Competing a horse puts things in perspective.  And, it teaches humility.  While your own skill, talent and training are on the line, it's always the horse who has the last word in the show arena.  Sure, it's nice to win, and many of us do, but ride a horse for any length of time and you're bound to lose one day.  Trust me, you'll survive.

Learn to laugh at yourself.  My friends used to get so mad it me when I was competing Russell R. and he'd misbehave in the under saddle class. (He used to buck for no reason.)  It cost me a few ribbons, that's for sure, but there was nothing I could do about it. (He did it to my very experienced trainer too.)  He was just expressing his boredom with the whole routine and needed to stir up some excitement.  Getting mad at him accomplished nothing and it surely wouldn't look good in a show class.  I'd just laugh--at the both of us.

Enough for now. I'll see what else pops into my head over the next few HOT days. 
 why do it?

Till then, enjoy your horse.


  1. Good post! I like the last one best. My sense of humor is the only thing that keeps me sane. Horses will drive you crazy if you let them!

  2. Very insightful - I think your points about not taking ourselves too seriously and being able to laugh at things that happen is very important. Living in the moment and being with the horse in the moment puts things on the right plane. Thanks!

  3. Horsewomen radiate strength. Very true.

  4. Great post with very true observations. If it weren't for my sense of humor I'd probably have gone crazy after all these years with horses. Having a good laugh always makes us feel better and shows us that not everything is so serious we can't overcome it with a sense of humor.

  5. Very nice blog (but would love more pictures!) and I totally agree with your comments (as I had a horse who could always put me in my place in the showring and now have one who won't even go in there!) Drop by my blog some time, you'll be very welcome.