Listening to the Horse is the Key to Understanding
It’s Sunday and I am attempting to hold true to the promise that we will not publish any bad news, on this day, but instead attempt to inspire and refresh so put on your swim trunks and hold your nose, we are about to jump into that cold mountain stream.
Hopefully it has not been glaringly visible to the bulk of our readership but there has been some anger and frustration bubbling amongst commentors jut below the surface. We have attempted to redirect and defuse it whenever possible. There is a lot of emotion tied up very tightly within the issues that we discuss and I am knowingly guilty of stirring the pot as for me, it is carefully channeled and I know my targets well with no confusion. But we do have a few folks that start to wave their loaded gun around and I am fearful that they may accidentally pull the trigger and wound a friend of the horses and that we cannot have.
So please allow me to reach into my bag of baloney and pull out a piece that I wrote several years ago, with any luck you may find it amusing and to some, helpful.
Enjoy your day of rest, my friends.
When it comes to writing it takes a certain bit of motivation, emotion and passion for me to commit my feelings to written word, hence, I am a total failure as a news writer. I wish that I had the ability to simply state the facts, present the story and move on such as the talented equine writers Steven Long and John Holland manage to do; but I just don’t have it in me. The issue has to inspire, to push and drive me to make a point. There is always a point so I wear a hat in hopes that it does not show. As my wife, Terry, will tell you; I am a man of a few thousand words.
So as not to disappoint I sat down, last night, and began to compile a listing of all the anti-horse events that have transpired over the past several months. I provided details, numbers, dates and names. I researched and documented until I was blue in the face and then sat back and looked at what I had compiled. It was shocking, the list had grown and swelled until more words were written than I could possibly put into a short “op-ed” and to add injury to insult, I was depressed beyond words. In fact, I was beginning to feel an emotion that I have seen percolating amongst pro-horse people and over the past several days has begun to bubble up to a rapid boil.
That’s when the red flags went up.
Today, logon to any equine advocate’s blog, check out a pro-horse website and you can quickly see that a tremendous amount of justified frustration and pain is turning into something that, if not channeled correctly, could precipitate into the demise of all that we have worked for in attempting to help the horses. That singular, destructive and dead-end element is nothing more than all-American, apple pie, stick in your throat Anger.
There is nothing inherently wrong with feeling angry, Lord knows there is good reason, but a word of caution is justifiably due. If we allow this emotion to mindlessly drive us down the same dark and slippery trail that the anti-horse people are traveling, we have truly failed. The other side has a gigantic lead down the center of that abyss and the land of negativity is somewhere we do not want to go; not now, not ever.
Take a moment and consider all of this from the horse’s perspective. That’s right, think like a horse for a second and listen to what they have to say. Do you believe that the horses are angry? I think not.
The wild horses are frightened, frustrated and possibly lonely from having their families and homes destroyed but they don’t know anger as we humans do. In fact, they run from it.
What’s the number #1 rule that you impose upon yourself when you feel angry at your horse? Isn’t it to turn and walk out of the pasture as when you are angry you then repel the horse as you become the predator?
Perhaps there is a lesson learned there.
If we seek to effect change, then maybe we had better start thinking like horse trainers versus horse “breakers”. Perhaps there is more to be gained from building relationships versus ramming our point of view down our opponent’s throats.
Maybe if we attempt to display confidence, exhibit leadership, provide examples of success and clarity in the direction that we would prefer to travel then like a horse, our former opponents might be more receptive to our perspective.
If, like a compassionate trainer, we can clearly show that our path is the way of least resistance and the destination is the most comfortable place to be, then perchance we may cultivate more converts versus alienating the very horse that we are trying to train.
When we first approach a horse, who we wish to build a relationship with, we already know that the horse sees the world from a different perspective. We are fully aware that he does not trust us and that the horse has a mind of its own and will want to do what he wants to do. The horse is going to push and shove to go where he wants to go; until we can gently persuade him to do otherwise.
Is that not an exact definition of those whom we are most angry with right now?
Perhaps we should step away from our computer screens for a moment, take a deep breath, and put our horsemanship hats on. If you have equine friends, now would be a good time to spend a few quiet moments with them and tune into their wavelengths. Listen, for a change, instead of talking “to” them; recharge your emotional batteries.
If a friendly horse is not nearby; then close your eyes and imagine that high, lush, mountain meadow with vividly colored wild flowers at your feet. You look about and see the small herd of wild horses calmly grazing around you while the only sounds that you hear are their subtle chewing and the cry of a distant hawk. Tune in, breath deep and decompress.
Now; shake it off, put on your boots, slip into your chinks and head for the round pen.
We do a great job of convincing horses to behave as we desire so let’s give it a shot with humans and see where we go. Instead of a carrot stick it might be a pen. Maybe a keyboard will take the place of a lunge line or a telephone might supplant a savvy string but the tools are there, the knowledge is present and the desire is bursting at the seams.
Let’s stand united, suck it up and go train ourselves some horse advocates!
There is nowhere to go but up!
May the Force of the Horse be with you all.
Categories: The Force of the Horse