One of my dear friends sent me a page-a-day calendar titled “What horses teach us.” The picture on the front was of some sort of Gypsy Vanner with a spectacular mane and the quote “Great hair is the best revenge.” It made me laugh, and I sort of expected more horse related humor on the calendar itself.
It’s not particularly funny, though. It’s pictures of horses (which are gorgeous) and unrelated wise quotes. I’m enjoying the pictures, and the quotes, but I do wish they were things horses teach us. Because that would be a hysterical calendar.
This of course made start thinking about what horses actually do teach us.
Humility – often, when animals are pictured with virtues, the dog is posed with “Loyalty” the lion with “Courage” and the horse with “Humility.” When I was a kid, I couldn’t figure out why, since horses are also frequently described as proud. Then, I figured it out. Humility is what the horse gives you. It literally doesn’t matter how good you are as a rider and training, you will get dumped in the dirt. It might not happen often, but it is always a possibility. Good riders and trainers know that, and have learned to accept it.
Also, no matter how much experience you have, there is always more to learn. Horses teach you that, too.
Persistence. It takes practice to clean hooves with a flick of the wrist. It takes practice to feel your diagonals, see the distance, rate the trot, stick the spin…keep at it.
Always look at things from multiple angles—you have to show new things and places to both sides of the horse–this is because their field of vision is such that there is information their eyes don’t share. This means that you have to show both eyes everything, because Left Side Horse and Right Side Horse have not had the same set of life experiences and need to be trained separately that the log over there will not eat him.
Get back up again. If you don’t, it will only get harder.
Plan, but be flexible. If you have a plan, you are more likely to succeed. But…that said, if something changes you need to be open to changing your plan. If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something different.
Humility. Again. Yes. Because it really does hurt getting dumped on your butt.
I’m sure there’s more.