I'm not the only one that relates my every day experiences to working with animals- horses specifically- but in my neck of the woods here in sunny California I'll bet I'm one of only a handful. And that is really too bad because horses can teach you a lot about people.
I think that everyone should have to rate cattle on horseback for a month before being allowed to raise children or drive a car.
I think that every child from the age of 7 to adult should clean stalls and care for a horse on a daily basis; winter,summer,spring and fall.
I think that most people should have to ride with a trainer for a year, but not for the reason you may think.
I think everyone should have to repair a piece of leather. A piece of leather that your life may depend on.
I think that everyone should have to buy and sell a horse face to face with a customer.
I think that everyone should brush and groom a horse- barefooted on a cement floor.
If you see a theme developing here you are correct. The dreaded ' C ' word.
It is a word many people don't know. Perhaps they think it doesn't apply to them or their 'situation'.
I beg to differ and anyone who has worked with horses can tell you the same.
Even if you have never ridden a horse in your life, these lessons are Universal.
If you are driving a cow down the fence, and you get too close to her she is likely to do one of two things-stop and turn back into you going full tilt boogie and cause a wreck or switch direction and dive back, in which case you've lost her. If you get too far away from her, you will lose her and she will fling poop off the end of her tail as runs away. But if you rate her just right, you can circle her up, change her direction, change her attitude and bring her to a place you want her to be.
Lesson: Don't be pushy and mind your own spaces.
Caring for an animal will bring the biggest gifts and the worse heartaches. Muddy days, hot days and beautiful flowery spring days.
Lesson: To get to the spring,you have to wade through the mud.
"If at first you don't succeed, try doing it the way your trainer told you to in the first place." Words to live by my friends. A trainer has hours and hours on horseback, learning all about those consequences and hoping to save you from those same mistakes. That's what you pay them for. But a great trainer can read you just like they read the horse. Are you tense, happy, relaxed nervous? They won't accept those flimsy excuses and they don't want you to give any.
Lesson: Saddle Up and Ride.
You. May. Die.
Lesson: Friendships, jobs, politics or religion- it pays to repair the things that are broken and to repair them very well.
The World is a relatively small place. We all know someone that knows someone else. If you lie to one, you lie to all and we will know it. You may get away with it for awhile, but not forever.
Lesson: Look someone square in the eye, tell the truth and let the buck stop with you.
Have you ever been between a rock and a hard place? Could you have avoided the situation?
Lesson: Make better choices.
Life is a Circus, a Carousel, A Race Track, a Rodeo. People used to learn these lessons first hand because horses were their life blood, their tool, their survival. We are getting so far removed from those days, but the lessons remain the same. I don't think iPads and Androids, bytes and gigs, self driving cars or mega superstores are going to teach us these lessons.
I think it remains for the horse people to remind the rest. As long as there are a few of us left in the World we might just survive.
6 months ago