Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thankful for Horses

Brenda, Tom, Sara, Jacob & Micah
Fall, 1995

Thanksgiving is over. We are thankful for many things, and one of those is horses.

Why do I love horses so much? I love horses because they are honest and sincere and truthful with their actions. They are a good friend! Horses let you know exactly how they feel. I love their horsey smell, the musty smell as they are shedding their winter coat or the sweaty smell after a hard workout. I love how a mare nickers to her young foal and I love that similar sound when they nicker for their hay. I love riding a collected lope. I love sitting down deep and feeling the horse stop. I love loping in the fields and watching the horse perk his/her ears, anticipating a run. I love the feel of the muscles as they stretch. I love it when my horse walks up to me and wants me to rub its head, right between the eyes. I am thankful that they want me in their life as much as I want them to be in my life.

I asked a question. Why do you love horses? Why are you thankful? You told me how much horses mean to you. You told me how horses have offered you a peaceful solution when life gets hard. You told me that you can’t imagine horses not a part of your life. Some of the answers that I received have given me more time to reflect on why I am thankful for horses.

My friend, Gretchen, has just moved away. She is an equestrian coordinator for a youth camp, and she just loves it. It is so obvious that she loves her job, loves her work, loves working with kids, and loves her horses! Did I say that she loves her horses? This love just oozes out of her. Gretchen is a neat person and I am so lucky to have her as a friend and confidant. We talk to each other, talk things out, and find solutions. We both try to figure out the horse. All of this because of a friendship that developed from Gretchen having the desire to ride better. She knows and understands horses, and she rides with a renewed confidence. She is truly a good friend to her horses! I think the horses she own and the horses she care for are thankful that she is in their life!

Gretchen loves horses so much that what she wrote, what could have been, and should be, a poem. I put it into a poem for her. Here is my version of Gretchen’s poem. Enjoy it as much as I have!

“I Love Horses Because…”
Horses teach me so much!
I never stop learning from them.
Horses make me laugh, and they make me cry.
On my worst days, my horses know it.
They come over and drop their heads in my lap to offer comfort.
On my best days, my horses take me for the ride of my life.
There is nothing better in life than a gallop across the bean field or a lope around the arena.
There is nothing better in life than the sound of a herd of happy horses eating.
There is nothing better in life than the smell of horses in the barn.
They are such incredible works of God's creation.
They are a mystery and a surprise.
They trust and forgive.

Gretchen thought that she could go on and on, but she thought that was enough. I could have read more! Thanks, Gretchen! Horses are indeed one of God's wonderful creations! This is good enough to be a poem, and now it is! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! You are thankful for horses and I am thankful for you. You give many older horses a fantastic retirement. You give many children a wonderful summer vacation. You give your friends a sense of the peace that horses need to feel. You give your horses a wonderful, peaceful life.

A few people have talked about how horses have saved them. I quote: “They are the sanity at the beginning and end of a very long day“. Horses offer a calmness after a long day at work. Whenever there is something upsetting in life, you can always go to the barn or to the pasture to find the horse you love with all of your life. Horses offer a calmness to one’s life, but you need to sit back and enjoy some quiet time with them. No structure, no purpose, just to be there. An existence unhampered by demands.

When tragedy strikes, in the form of a family member leaving home or in a death of a loved one, families became closer due to horses. Sometimes, sacrifices are made so that horses can remain part of the family. Horses understand love, and hurt, and let you be quiet, without questions. Families deal with loss by hugging a pet or smelling a horse’s neck, by walking or talking with their four legged friend, having a companion, and finding a soul mate. Horses remain quiet when you are quiet. They search you out to give you what you need. They remain close as you rub on them. They remain near until your anxieties and pain are less intense, then they move off quietly to graze.

Yes, I believe horses are great therapy! They listen without complaining. I think it is so peaceful to walk among them when you are bothered or upset about something. The horses seem to know when you are there, not to catch them, but to visit and wander. They come to you and let you pet them, and I find where they are almost too much in my face. They must sense when we need to be comforted. They blow their scent over you, covering you with a blanket of their smell, protecting you with their invisible layer of love and warmth.

With the love for a horse comes a connection. A special feeling that you belong with them. One friend wrote: “horses are my teachers, my therapist, and the mirror into my soul. It's hard to describe the hole that would be left if I couldn't spend time with horses - they're a part of me!” With a horse, you become more than what you are. Horses make the impossible possible. Horses make you a better person. Horses make you try to live your life to the fullest. You can achieve what you strive to achieve, and horses can help.

Oh, I love that. "Horses are the mirror into my soul!" Lovely! We see ourselves when we truly understand the horse, when we see him for what he is. If we search the horse’s soul, we would begin to understand them and see them as an individual horse instead of one of many. I wonder if the opposite is true? Does my horse see inside me as I try to see inside her? Does my horse understand what makes me tick and why I am the way that I am? Does my horse help me to make me a better horsewoman and rider? Does my horse help me to understand him or her better? I will slow down and watch for this as I continue my paths with my horses. How are my horses helping me?

Yes, I can’t imagine the emptiness that would follow without horses in my life. There was a time, after marriage, and when the babies came, that I didn’t have horses. But I knew that I would once again have horses, but the timing was not right at that moment. This is different than knowing that you could not have horses. I would be in agony. I need to know they are there when I need them. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t done anything with them in the last 2 weeks except feed them. They are still there and they are mine.

Even if I could never own horses again, horses would remain a part of my life. I would have to volunteer at a barn. I would have to drive by someone’s pasture every day. I would need to see them. That wouldn’t be good enough. I would need to touch them. I would need to smell them. I would have to wrap my life around them.

I love horses because horses have made me some wonderful horsey friends! Horses are my life because I love my horses! Thanks for coming along on this ride with me! Brenda


Nosnikta said...

I love that family picture. Micah is so little! How cute!

Gretchen said...

Love the poem!!!! Thanks for being a good friend, and a good teacher. you make me cry!!!!

Give bubba a thanksgiving treat for me. (and finney, and starlet, and chick, and red....)

brenda said...

I saw that family pic when I was trying to find a horse picture that would remind me of what I am thankful for. I am definately thankful for family and horses. This pic reminds me of the kids and their horses when they were younger. I think Micah was only 9 or 10.

Bubba was at the gate this morning, when all the other horses were at the round bale. He is smart. He knows Red and the foals get grain in the mornings, and he was looking for his grain! All of the horses look good, and getting fat, since we are going into winter and no one is working hard.


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