You’re dressed, enthused, and toddle out to spend time with your adorable mare. She meets you at the gate and the magic begins. Everything is beautiful until the record player begins to slow and the music becomes distorted.
When Perfection Doesn’t Happen
If you’ve spent more than a week with a horse you know what I mean. Something’s off. What was easy yesterday isn’t as easy today. Don’t get too concerned, this is normal. This is horses. Like you, your pony is subject to moods, weather, minor digestive disturbances, and the ugly face her herd buddy shot her this morning. Horses aren’t robots.
Getting back on track is your responsibility. What’s the plan?
Knowing what to do and doing it aren’t the same, and the first is far easier than the second. Applying what you know correctly and consistently is always a bear. But you can’t do what you don’t know. Consider this list of guidelines to build a fabulous relationship with your horse.
7 Simple Rules for Success
- Strive for softness.
- Focus first.
- Never leave sticky feet sticky.
- Never ask for more precision than you offer.
- Never expect greater concentration that your own.
- Fix little problems immediately (you’ll never have any big ones.)
- Love the one you’re with.
Nothing flows when it’s stiff, wooden, or painful. Proof that your horse understands what you’re asking for and is ABLE to do it is visible; a soft eye, relaxed neck position, and attentive ears. [1 John 5:3]
Is it too obvious to mention that your horse won’t do what you ask if she isn’t paying the slightest bit of attention to you? Earn her focus. [Proverbs 4:25]
Does your horse drag her feet moving forwards or backwards? She’s supposed to Pick Them Up. If she isn’t, her feet are sticky because her brain isn’t engaged or she’s not properly warmed up or motivated. If there’s no physical issue, figure out what’s keeping her from engaging in the fun. Make working with you fun. [James 4:3]
Remember what a radio stations sounds like that isn’t quite tuned in? It’s got a bit of static, garbled, and is totally obnoxious, like fingernails on a chalkboard. Your horse can’t sing back the tune you’re asking for if you’re not clear and precise. [Matthew 5:37]
Precision’s twin brother, Concentration, chooses NOT to multi-task when you’re with your horse. She knows the difference. If your mind wanders, so will hers. Timing is everything in relationship with horses. If you’re distracted, your timing will be off. You can take that to the bank. [1 Corinthians 9:25-27]
Fix Little Problems
If you don’t fix little mistakes, you tell your horse that the wrong thing is the right thing, or at least an acceptable thing. How’s that for a mixed message? Leave any hole in your horse’s training and it will come back to bite you. Teach it right. Practice it right. It will be right. [James 4:17]
Love Your Horse
You can’t enjoy slowing dancing when you’re thinking about someone else. Whether the horse you’re with is yours or belongs to a client, you owe yourself, your client, and the horse your best. If you don’t feel the love, do something else until it returns. You’ll get more benefit turning off the dance music than asking the horse to follow your stiff, uncommitted lead. [Matthew 7:12]
Horses Are Worth the Effort
Nothing worthwhile comes without a cost. For many, horses make dreams come true. The best things require effort, commitment, and dedication. Remember your kids during the terrible twos? If you didn’t persevere then you wouldn’t have your adorable grandbabies now.
Invest in your horse. Study her, because she’ll teach you things about yourself you can’t learn elsewhere. Offer your best. The reward is always bigger than the investment. Horses are worth the effort.
Because we love them.
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