Saturday, November 21, 2009

When is a Horse Not a Horse?

First, go buy my book. Then I'll be happy to answer the question.

I'll wait....................

Okay. Thanks. I'm counting on getting rich and famous, so keep ordering.

The answer to the question is "Never!"

Simplistic? Not really. The subject of "horseness" was brought home to me recently when I followed up with action the words of my favorite horse psychic, Ginny Palmieri. It all seemed so straightforward. Zip has pain in his withers, so I put a wider gullet in the saddle and added a gel pad. Bingo! Dakota feels he should be recognized for not bucking off the beginners I put on his back, but he likes teaching people about horses. Gave him some strokes and an apple, and gave the barn slave a lesson. Yee-HAH! Leo wants more attention. Easiest of all since he's the horse most likely to have his nose in my armpit wherever I travel. Zap!

On down the list of complaints and requests I went, fixing and adjusting wherever I could, fully expecting in the end that there would be considerable change in the animals' attitudes and behaviors. In truth, there has been, but all within the "Horseness" parameters. This is where beginners and stubborn experienced horse people come a-cropper of the reality of Horse Life. When a human loved one says, "Stop poking me in the eye and I'll gladly make you dinner on Friday night," it's a safe bet we can interpret that in clearly literal terms. I pocket my finger; Cliff gets out the fry pan.

In the horse world, however, it's not so clear-cut. Horses have other things going on in their lives besides us. Horses remember things like pain, while we often forget where we parked the car. Horses know that squirrels don't have their best interests at heart. And horses don't just shrug and let bygones be bygones. It's a process. Correction of situations requires a lengthy series of repetitions, small improvements, incremental adjustments, and, in time, possible success. No matter how hard we try, they will never really speak Human, and we can only approximate Horse.

So that's my warning for today. Finding out that there's a problem is great. Acknowledging that you are the cause is the next step. Making adjustments and apologies as needed is required. Then you wait...patiently...for what might be a very, very long time. Frustration must not cause rushiness. Anger may not creep into the equation. We must be one with the Cosmos and let the horse work through whatever he's working through and be delighted when the change finally comes. We must Be the Horse, who waits for years for us to notice that his stall floor lists to the north so he's got one shoulder that's higher than the other.

I'm human enough to deal with that. Are you?

No comments: