Horses and gardens.Kind of an odd combination to have in one sentence, unless you’re feeding them from it (I would never do such a thing…*shifty eyes*). These two things have made me rethink a lot of ways I’ve been doing things and have really taught me some valuable lessons and been my anchor in some rocky moments these last few months.
I’ve been a bit quiet on the internet lately. It’s been a very emotionally trying month for me at work and at home so I haven’t truly sat down and wrote anything for ya’ll in a while. I got to thinking a while back and that train of thought has been bumping around in my brain for a while so I finally found the time and the well, mental energy to write it out for you all. So without further ado, lets get right into it.
1.) Patience: The number one thing my animals and my garden have taught me is patience. Do you know how hard it is to sit and wait for a plant to sprout and then get big enough that I can go steal food from it? It’s brutal I tell ya! And horses themselves are much the same way. When we begin teaching our horses it starts out kinda like a seed. It’s an idea, a notion to the horse that we want something different. We have to have the patience to not only effectively teach a horse but to also allow the horse to figure it out for themselves. If we force them and yell and beat them with a whip….well they may eventually get it but it’s lost being fun to them. now it’s just frustrating and possibly painful.
2.) Don’t give up even when you think you’ve really screwed up. With my garden, I thought I compactly killed the first tomato and pepper plants I planted. So much so that I bought new ones and planted a whole new bed but I kept watering the old ones out of hope and amazingly enough they are coming back even better then the ones I bought on the second go round. I think sometimes we get so caught up in “instant gratification” that when we screw up we wash our hands of it and start with something different but we forget that we, as well as our horses, are thinking creatures. We often make mistakes but if we hold out long enough sometimes those mistakes can be fixed and the whole partnership blossoms into something even more amazing then before. The biggest thing is learning from those mistakes and finding a better way to do it! Sometimes it’s patience, sometimes it’s holding off on “planting” those seeds until it’s a little warmer, or waiting to teach your horse something new or unknown until it’s a better time.
3.) Sometimes the best are not the prettiest. Sometimes the best producers, or the best companions are not the most beautiful. Sometimes the ones that end up being the perfect match are the ones that we may first look over or shake our heads at because they aren’t the “ideal” of what we are looking for. Sometimes it’s color, sometimes its lack of ‘perfect’ conformation and sometimes it’s a horse of a totally different discipline or breed then we typically like. Perfection doesn’t mean that they will succeed or that you will ‘mesh’ together. Just like watermelons sometimes the sweetest are the ‘scared up’ or the odd balls that really show us the joy in life. (but my horses are perfect I swear *ahem* yeah I promise hehe)
4. Water often! well this is an obvious one. Without water our gardens and horses would both perish in a matter of days but what I mean by this is take the time to water what you’ve sown. Don’t be afraid to go back to basics and work with something very simple. Go out and just groom your horses, Play with them and just give them that little bit of life that we can sometimes forget is just as important as working with them.
5.) Don’t forget to take the weeds out. Weeds can destroy a garden by slowly leaching nutrients and chocking out those plants that we want the most. With horses we have to weed out those negative emotions, and those people who are constantly putting us down because we may not be following the conventional route (Even if it’s your trainer).
Don’t be a weed to yourself either. (I struggle with this). Don’t be the one who says “He’d do so much better with someone else to open up his potential…. I suck at dressage…. I can’t do this….. I’m a horrible rider….My horse hates me….I should never have even tried this….I should be showing novice by now but i’m still in beginner novice why can’t I be like sally…..I am ruining my horse…why arnt we further along?.
If you find yourself in this kind of negative loop begin pulling weeds. Spin those thoughts around and say “well that didn’t go as planned. I better find a better way….We are progressing slowly but man we’ve come a long ways since we started….I’m learning just like he is. Sometimes we make mistakes…. You begin to ‘pull’ those weeds when you stop letting those negative thoughts and therefore actions take root in your mind. You begin watering those positive thoughts and eventually the weeds will die and your horses will be much appreciative of it!
6.) Smile, laugh and just enjoy the moment. There’s something zen like about working with horses and working in a garden. You have to pay attention to what you’re doing in that moment, you have to release anger to be effective with your horse and all other things just melt away. If you’re having a bad day go give a hug to a horse, go pick some raspberries out of the patch and just smile and take a moment to enjoy the beauty around you. Horses don’t stay angry. Horses don’t hold a grudge. They may remember pain but they have an amazing talent for forgiveness. If we can learn to embrace that the whole world would be better off. It’s amazing how fast those negative emotions can melt away if you just look for the good things.
Find those happy things in your life and embrace them with a whole heart. Happiness is a choice, and who can’t be happy when you’re nibbling on a freshly pulled carrot straight from the garden and sneaking the tops and pieces to those beasties begging so eagerly for more? 😀
Until next time