With Thanksgiving tomorrow I thought it would be an appropriate time to give thanks to all the horses who have helped shape my horsemanship and all of you who have allowed me to learn and grow with you and your horses. Thank you for being patient and forgiving as I continue to learn and be the best horseman I know how to be.
As equestrians we are constantly learning and growing. A year ago my approach to horsemanship was very different from what it is now. I hope that next year I will look back and see just as many, if not more, changes. Each new horse and each new situation helps shape how I work with horses and how I approach life in general. I am constantly learning how much slower and softer I can be and how that helps the horse be even softer and more tuned in.
As a result of this journey we are constantly making mistakes. A lot of times we don’t even realize the mistakes we are making. It isn’t until we look back that we realize we could have done something so much better. This is why it is so important to thank your horses for everything they have put up with, ignored, and forgiven as you fumbled your way along this journey.
The horse has an amazing ability to live in the moment. He is able to shrug off a harsh cue or a late release as soon as the moment has passed. Each individual moment doesn’t effect the horse like it does us. Which isn’t to say that what we do doesn’t matter – because it really does. The horse just doesn’t get caught up in the emotions of it all.
To the horse each past moment is equal regardless of whether it has been 10 years or 5 minutes since that moment happened. The horse learns from the culmination of each experience so one bad moment will be outweighed by a hundred good moments. Of course this also works the opposite way. A horse who has been in a less than ideal situation will have a bunch of bad experiences to draw on. You have to give the horse even more good experiences before he will start to change his mind about something.
The way the horse learns allows us to be imperfect. As long as the culmination of all the horse’s experiences leads the horse to the correct response we can be less than perfect some of the time. This is great for us because we are always learning and will inevitably always make mistakes.
The horse is also very sensitive to our intention. Unlike humans who hold a grudge if you accidentally elbow them, the horse moves on. As long as your intention is pure, the horse won’t get overly worked up about something (unless his past experiences tell him that he should). Obviously anger or fear will elicit a stronger response from the horse and bring the horse’s energy levels up. However, if we can keep an open mind and leave the emotion out of it, the horse will work with us.
The horse’s natural ability to forgive is one of his greatest qualities. It is one of the reasons working with horses is such a great opportunity for us to learn and improve ourselves. Through our horses we not only learn better horsemanship, but we also learn how to be better humans.
I want to thank all of the horses I have been blessed to own, ride, or work with for their kindness and forgiveness. Each and every one of them has taught me a valuable lesson and helped me grow in so many ways.
I also can’t forget to thank all of my wonderful clients who have allowed me to continue learning through their horses and who have trusted me to guide them on their journey. It is such an honor and a blessing to watch and help as you strengthen your partnership with your horse, so thank you!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and be sure to give your horse extra thanks this holiday season!