Do you remember the first day a horse came into your life? Your very own horse? Maybe you can’t quite remember that first day because you were very young.
Do your best to think back as far as you can to a day you can remember when a horse first came into your life. How did you feel? Where you excited? Scared?
It’s hard for me to remember the exact day a beautiful Shetland pony named Thunder entered my life. What I do know is that I was about 2 years old and she loved to bite and run over me. My mother told me that I use to run in to the house crying because of Thunder and then I’d go right back out for more. How crazy is that?
I sometimes wonder about my parents. Why did they let me go out there in the first place? Being farmers, it was probably no big deal to them. I was one of the youngest of 7 kids, and since the other 6 had survived up until then, why worry? 🙂
Since I have the horse nut gene, I can’t imagine not having horses in my life. I often say I need them like I need air to breathe. They’re that important.
Although it’s difficult for me to remember the day I met Thunder, I can remember my first meeting with every horse there after.
Each horse I’ve come in contact with has left a unique imprint on me. They’ve contributed to my personal growth as a human being and as an equine guardian.
The truth is, horses are not easy, and they’re not for everyone. They can cause us to reveal our inner most vulnerabilities and choose to either mange those vulnerabilities or not.
Not everyone wants to grow as an individual, and not everyone has the ultimate respect for the true nature of a horse. Therefore, horses are not for everyone.
Horses Are Not for the Faint of Heart
To most, the idea of having a horse sounds wonderful. Often times though, the amount of responsibility required to care for, and stay safe around, horses is over looked.
The excitement of having a horse may over power the logical side of the equation. For example, what about horse related expenses? If you don’t implement a natural horse care program, horse care is expensive. Even then, you still have to allocate funds for hay, supplements, land, vet bills, etc.
A common mistake is assuming that a horse is like a motor bike and that it comes with detailed instructions. Our equine partners are individuals and should be treated as such, just like you’re an individual with unique experiences, feelings and talents.
How do you think you’d feel if you were treated as a carbon copy of someone else? It wouldn’t feel very good would it?
The fact of the matter is a relationship with a horse is not transferable.”
That would be like you trading in your significant other for someone new and expecting an immediate connection. If you care about having a lasting relationship that wins your horse’s heart, then you have to work at it.
What does that mean? It means you have to also work on you. Sometimes that may include you having to pay the price for other people’s sins when it comes to developing a relationship with your equine companion.
I know because I’ve been there multiple times, and it’s not easy. You have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re worthy of their trust and respect. You can’t force this aspect with a horse. It has to develop over time.
Therefore, horses are not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot to the discovery process including the part where you fit in the horse industry and who you believe when it comes to horses?
For most, this is a confusing and frustrating process.
Discover Where You Fit In
When you have a horse in your life, you quickly learn that everyone has an opinion about how and what you should do with her. Should you show, ride or play?
I love the classic question some people often ask me, “What do you DO with your horses?” Usually I get this question from someone who’s mostly focused on winning something with her horse (and it’s not her horse’s heart) like a blue ribbon or futurity money.
I often times want to respond with, “What do you do with the person you care most about in your life? Do you enjoy quality time together? Going to the movies? Taking trips together? Do you work on strengthening your relationship?”
The point is that everyone has a place they fit in and feel comfortable in the horse industry.
Where I fit in may be different than where you fit in, and that’s okay.
I love spending quality time with my horse, and I love the never ending challenge of building a stronger bond that enables me to DO things with my horse that to others seem unimaginable.
That doesn’t necessarily have to be your endeavor or where you fit in with your horse, but it’s important to discover it for yourself rather than giving into peer pressure or allowing someone else to force that decision upon you. From there, be okay with where you are in your journey with horses.
Honor Where You Are Right Now
On my vision board at home, I have something I wrote down some time ago that says:
Honor where you are right now.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed this gentle reminder on those days when I want something to happen faster. It’s human nature and it’s definitely in my nature to be impatient and want things NOW.
Do you honor where you are right now with your horse, your relationship, your knowledge about horses?
Honoring where you are right now will allow you to remain calm and not get frustrated during some of your toughest times.
I often think about how horses are so forgiving of our inadequacies as human beings. I’m utterly convinced that there’s something about them beyond anything we can describe or possibly understand. As long as we realize that what ever “it” is, is special and that we must honor it.
A big part of the equation is that our horses are along for the ride and they’re here to help us grow and evolve. Along those lines, I believe the horse knows and understands this more than we do.
Adventure and Progress
Having horses in your life can be a wonderful experience, but the truth is, for some it can be a nightmare. Horse guardianship is not for everyone and it’s a huge responsibility, but at the same time, it’s also very fulfilling.
For me it’s an adventure of self-discovery and partnership. For my horses, well, they’re along for the ride and I hope it will be both interesting and engaging for them.
Where are you in your quest with horses? Do you often look back and realize how little you use to know? I know I do. 🙂
Keep it soulful,