in horsemanship. You cannot be one person at home and another at the barn. I have been chewing on that quote and what it means for a long time.
This is an article I wrote for my long neglected website, quite a few years ago, reflecting on some of the principles I was just starting to really delve into. Years later, I am still delving . . .
"If you face your fears, swallow your pride, and are willing to work at it, you'll learn lessons in courage, commitment, and compassion, in addition to basic survival skills. You'll discover just how hard you're willing to work toward a goal, how little you know, and how much you have to learn. And, while some people think the horse "does all the work," you'll be challenged physically as well as mentally. Your horse may humble you completely. Or, you may find that sitting on his back is the closest you'll get to heaven."
I was planning to write an article on some of the techniques I use to assess a horse for suitability in my sales and trade program. However, this paragraph showed up in a post on one of the lists I am on and it really struck a chord with me, so that other one will have to wait! Those first two sentences can be applied to any endeavor in life. In fact, many of the lessons I have learned about handling horses make me a better wife, friend, parent and human being in general.
I didn't create or come up with a single one of the principles that follow, but they have had a huge impact on my training, horse handling and people skills, in general. My biggest talent is magpie, pick up the coolest, shiniest things I can find, and create a beautiful nest!
"Be particular but not critical" - Parelli's
"Be as gentle as possible but as firm as necessary" Clinton Anderson
"Reward the slightest try" - a whole lot of good folk out there!
"Be smooth in your handling and don't make a big deal of things" paraphrased from Buck Brannaman
"Fix it up and wait" - Ray Hunt
Had I known these principles as a younger woman, my horses, my family and my friends would definitely have benefitted! Knowing them now, I apply them as best I can, in all situations, and when I am making a big deal of something (someone else smarter than me said "never sweat the small stuff, and it's almost all small stuff) I go back to the above and try to pick a different path. The horses appreciate it and I am sure my husband and kids do, too!
These days, I have narrowed down the shiny from what I believe to be truly gold . . . That which trickles down straight from Tom Dorrance, who says everything he knows about horses, he learned straight from the horse.
I am looking hard at the defects of character which have stood between me, and success in many areas of my life, not only my horsemanship. On to the next level of the journey.