Saturday, October 24, 2009

What Has Your Horse Taught You?

I have realised over the last week just how much Fox has taught me.

Fox has taught me patience, the importance of awareness and openness in communication with horses. Commitment, focus, the importance of goals but at the same time, the knowledge that things sometimes don't happen quite the way you want them too or as quickly as you want them to and being ok with that. He's taught me more practical things, especially this last week about physiology, anatomy and function. He's propelled me on a learning journey probably unmatched by anything I have done before. And most importantly that I have SO much more to learn (especially about feet, I never want to go through a bad farrier again!)

He's been a hard, demanding teacher at times but sometimes that's what it takes to wake up someone stuck and content in their old ways. He has slowly grown to trust me and this has been a huge reward all by itself.

This last week, with nothing to do with him but cold hose and rub him with tennis balls has actually been rather nice. The pressure is gone. It's just you and your horse, hanging out not demanding anything of each other. Fox will stand patiently while I hose his leg, something he never used to do. He stretches and yawns as I massage him with a tennis ball. In some ways it's far more enriching than what we used to do. It takes up far more energy and requires much more of a focused approach. It's a carefully thought out routine of handgrazing, massage, cold hosing, booting and administering of various potions and powders.

I do miss riding though. I know Fox is going to be a far better horse after this process is finished. But I miss it. My dad suggested maybe finding another horse to ride while Fox is out. I'm still toying with the idea but am leaning towards the conclusion that another horse would either take valuable time away from Fox or would be neglected while I focus on getting Fox better. It's a tricky one. Maybe I can find someone that will let me ride now and again.

Back on track now. There is a somewhat common view that every horse has something different to teach its person. Anyone out there had the benefit of an equine teacher? What did it teach you?


  1. Patience, buckets full of it. Plus letting things go and living in the moment. I enjoy reading your posts!

  2. My horses have taught me the value of letting things go. I have anxiety issues, so before I go out and talk to the mares, I have to really work on breathing down and letting it go.

    That said, one mare is incredibly pushy, so we're having behaviour issues, which makes me anxious all over again!

  3. 1) Not to worry... breathe. If I worry, he worries and things get messy, if not dangerous.

    2) To be a better rider. He knows his stuff. When I first started riding him he tolerated more than he does now.

    3) The basics. I worked with horses every day but in a veterinary setting. He's my first horse. I'm learning the little things and I think he's enjoyed teaching me.

    Personally, I find time out of the saddle to be as if not more more bonding than in. Fox will enjoy all the attention. :) Good luck with getting him squared away.

  4. My mares taught me a lot.

    1) Relax. Getting upset just makes everything worse for everyone involved.

    2) Think. Little changes in tack and routine can make a big difference, so be aware of what you change.

    3) Enjoy. Life is too short to worry about everything, so when you're sitting in the mud as your mare bucks and snorts away, just laugh and the ridiculousness.

    4) Keep trying. Just because it didn't work one way doesn't mean it won't work another.

    As for your horse situation, it sounds like you need to find a busy horse friend who would let you ride once in a while. There's lots of them out there, so keep your eyes open.

  5. Oh Boy!
    My Dandy thought me patience... lots and lots of it... TONS of it!!!! She also thought me that repetition is a good thing and to keep at it. She thought me that horse can be very dangerous as well as the best partners ever! She taught me how to relax and never get upset, scared or angry. I have complete control over my emotions. She also thought me to laugh her craziness off.
    Since she was my first horse, she taught me that my teaching methods worked for her.

    My rescues thought me to never give up even when you know there is heartbreak after so much effort and hard work. Also, to never turn your back no matter how bad the situation. That things aren't always what they seem. That older horses CAN and WILL be a handfull sometimes (some of them most times!);) That ex-racers are, deep down, good horses that just want to be loved.
    I've learned to take a step back, leave real life behind and I escape with my horses, every ride is a different journey and every turn brings new challenges, surprises and amazement... I've always said that you see much more awesome things from a horse's back than from walking on the ground, not because you sit higher, but because all of your senses seem to be working overtime! Because of that, simple things seem way better! I hope your horse teaches you a lot too and I hope you will take your riding time of today to simply pet, brush and pamper your best buddy.

  6. Thanks for all your comments! I love reading about other people's expereiences with horses. That's probably why I read so many blogs!