Have you ever had one of those moments when a sentence, phrase, or saying that leaps out off of the page at you? Rattling around in your brain for the next day or two?
Just me, then. Damn.
Anyway, this may or may not set off a helpful-quotes motivates existential type blog. Or may simply result in another long rambling, barely cohesive blog post. It’s a risk I take every time I veer from self-derision. And since I’ve sworn off of negative self-talk for the next 20 days (give or take) in an effort to totally re-vamp myself… existential gibberish it is!
“Being aggressive is fine if you’re a boxer or a skier. But we have living, breathing, feeling animals underneath us. I don’t think it’s right to use them as a stepping stone to get to the next level.”
Now I realize that we outgrow horses and have to move them on to their next home and not everyone can own their horses forever, allowing them to retire to pasture in their golden years… But I really don’t think that’s what this quote is about.
My take away is that there are better paths to personal glory. Sure, I love ribbons and awards nearly as much at the next person, but I want my horses to like me. Not just during breakfast and dinner when I show up with the food bowl, but also when I’m grooming, tacking up, riding and after working. Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing a bit, but I can tell when my herd is happy, sad, worried or stressed out.
We’ve all seen that person at a horse show or clinic who blames their horse for being a horse. We’ve heard about the trainers who take short cuts to get quick and easy results. We’ve met riders who have to keep trading out horses when the ‘magic’ isn’t there immediately or the ribbons don’t come quickly enough.
As riders and trainers, we really owe it to our horses to enrich their lives; to develop that little personal relationship with our trusty steeds. After all, that’s why (most of us) got into horses – for that relationship that’s just not possibly with a basketball or motorcycle.
Sometimes we just need that little reality check when we completely blow it at a show or have a day where the flying changes just. aren’t. there.
My goal is not to use Bucky as just a tool to get to Grand Prix. I want him to enjoy working with me.
Delight is not my ticket to fame and fortune. My goal with her is not that other people will take a look and thing wow, look how great Alison is! My goal is develop horses who love their work in the same way Bucky does… Because really, there is nothing quite like riding a horse who loves their job.
Oh, on a ‘positive self talk’ note: Delight and I had wonderfully supple and powerful moments yesterday. Admittedly there were also moments where she flipped me the bird and told me exactly where I could shove my requests, but baby steps. We’ll get there some day… Hopefully by October.