I was feeling a little bit discouraged this week because I have a lot of events planned for the end of March and April and my horse has once again managed to hurt himself. I started to think that all of my plans were for naught because something always seems to get in the way. Once you start to think that way, of course it’s going to come true. That brings me to what I wanted to talk about in my blog this week. Not just with horses, but with life in general, it is important to maintain a positive outlook.
Instead of looking at things as good or bad, look at them as opportunities to learn, grow, or pursue something different. After all, life is what you make of it. If you see things as opportunities instead of negatives you will be able to overcome obstacles easier and use them to your advantage.
Taking this back to horses, if you see mishaps as opportunities to teach your horse something you will end up with a well-trained, lovely horse. For instance, if your horse gets worried and balks at crossing a stream you can use this opportunity to teach your horse to not be afraid of streams, have more confidence, and trust your leadership. The next time you encounter something that worries your horse he will be able to handle it better.
If instead you see your horse balking as a huge inconvenience and issue your horse will pick up on your negative emotions. Your horse will become more worried, regardless of how you work through the actual situation. Next time you encounter something worrying your horse will approach it with more apprehension. This builds insecurity and worry into your horse’s training.
Going back to my situation, I can either see my horse’s lameness as an opportunity or a hardship. It is easy to see how it is inconvenient because it interferes with my future plans and ability to work my horse. However, the injury also allows me to focus my time on other horses and potentially learn something new. It also allows me to spend more time doing close work to release some of my horse’s braces without feeling like I should instead be riding my horse to prepare for our upcoming events.
(Of course that last one just alludes to a separate issue I will readily admit to. You should always take the time to do the foundational work on your horse. Timelines don’t help anyone and often get in the way of the foundational stuff, which is why I tell people not to have timelines. However, no one is perfect and I struggle immensely to resist the urge to push my own horse. For some reason it is always harder when it’s yours. Anyways…)
These positives change my outlook on events in my life and allow me to continue to be the strong leader I want to be for my horses. In the end I’m sure I will look back and be glad I took the time to do other things and I won’t be upset that my horse was lame in the first place.
The world works in mysterious ways and using the hardships, set backs, and other negatives in your life to grow and learn will lead you to live a happier and fuller life. You will learn to have greater control of your emotions and situations. In turn your horse will have more respect for the strong leader that you are. The biggest secret to being a great horse person is being a better person. This is just one way you can do that, by making the negatives in your life positive.