Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Horse People

I promised yesterday I 'd explain horse people.  I'm going to give it a try.  It's not as easy to explain as you may think.

I was a born horse person into a family of non-horse people.  That happens. Just as anyone doesn't get to choose their family, horse people are probably more often than not, born into families of non-horse people.  Think of it as laying odds.  If there are fewer horse people than there are non-horse people, what's the likelihood?  Make sense?

Horse people are born.  It's not necessarily an inherited skill or trait.  Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.  Boot and RW, for example.  I'd be hard pressed to say that Boot didn't genetically inherit some of his skills from RW.  RW's other children, not horse people.

As I told you yesterday, God decides who will be a horse person and who won't.  If  you don't believe in God, then I guess I'd tell you some genetic mystery decides. Whatever "it" is that makes us different, it's certainly not man made.  You may believe what ever you like about it's origins, otherwise.

You can have tremendous riding skill.  You may own a horse. You may work in the business. But, you cannot be a horse person if you weren't born that way.

Why not? I don't know.  Ask God.  Ask a geneticist.  But, I'm telling you, horse people have a special magic that is not man made. And, I am using "magic" for lack of a better term.  I can't describe it and I've got it.  So, we'll just go with "magic" for now.

I know for a fact that you can't make a horse person. I've tried with some of my talented and intelligent students.  They can have technical skills.  They can be good riders. They can follow all of my instructions.  But, they just don't have the extra magic. 

They love the horse.  The horse may like them, too.  But, it's not the same. 

Cowgirl Slim has it.  Cowgirl Hot Tamale doesn't.  Tamale is still a good rider, but it's not the same for her.  It takes a lot more effort.  It doesn't come naturally.  But, she does it.  For Slim, it's not as hard.

And, it doesn't mean Cowgirl Hot Tamale should stop riding.  It's ok to ride if you're a non-horse person.  We don't hold it against you.  In fact, I admire their tenacity.  It doesn't come easily to them.  It takes a lot of work for them.  For us, we work to polish different skills, but the magic part... it's just there.
Something unexplainable happens when we are with horses.  It comes easier.  There are unexplainable skills.  We are able to do things with horses and no one understands why.

My mother is always in awe of my ability to handle a sick horse, for example.  I can't always explain why I am able to do certain things with horses, either.  But, it happens.

I don't feel self-important about it. I didn't have a hand in it.  It's not my accomplishment.  In my opinion, God made me this way.  It's in the Universal plan for me.  Whatever you want to call it.  I didn't do it.

I didn't make myself this way through study or excessive effort.  I may have layered what came naturally with study, practice, and honing my skills, but I didn't acquire what makes me different.  I came that way.

I don't feel arrogant or prideful about it. I don't believe I'm the best.  I'm simply trying to explain to you what is, at least to me, largely unexplainable.  In fact, I'm some what uncomfortable writing about it.

I am constantly learning.  I want to know more.  I don't believe I know it all.  That'll get you hurt. Go back and read my earlier entry The Danger of Knowing It All.

Am I a "horse whisperer"?  Oh geez.  I hate that term.  It's so overblown, over used, and over commercialized.  I really don't like being called that, either.  Occasionally it's what a student will call me.  Or, someone will ask me if I can make them a "horse whisperer."

"Horse whisperer" is a term used to describe a horse person by a non-horse person.  It's how they describe the magic between a horse person and a horse.  They don't get it, so you must be "whispering" to the horse.

How about we understand horse behavior?  How about we watch horses more than we talk about this unexplainable thing inside of us?  How about true horse people, knowing they are not responsible for this gift, are humbled by it?  How do you like those answers?  Those are the real answers.

I am in awe of people like RW who are farther down path than I am. I may never catch-up to him.  That's ok.  It may not be meant for me to know what he knows. I watch him.  I listen to him.  I ask him questions.  I ask him to watch me ride.  I ask him for advice.  He is not impressed with himself.  He knows it's a gift.  He is confident, but not arrogant.

If you meet someone who is arrogant about being a horse person, they are not.  Those folks are wanna bes.  They may be good riders.  They may be gutsy riders.  They may have a lot of ribbons.  But, I've never met a true horse person who seemed arrogant to me. Horse people are confident.  Don't get those qualities confused.  There's a difference between confident and arrogant. 

You have to be confident with a horse.  It makes him feel calm.  Horses like calm, confident leadership.

If you're arrogant with a horse, it's eventually going to backfire on you.  That's the difference.  Horse people know arrogance eventually backfires and non-horse people don't.

I have to go now and teach a lesson to a nice lady.  When she called, she asked me if I could make her into a horse whisperer.  I told her what I've told you here. "No ma'am.  I can't do that.  God does that.  I can teach you how to ride, though." 

And, so, that's how most of my time is spent.  I spend my days with staff and students, who are not horse people, but  want to learn.  I am willing to teach them.  Horses need all the friends they can get. 

I need to earn the money to feed my horses. I need staff  to care for my horses in a way that keeps the horses calm and confident, too.  Maybe the staff is just going through the motions I've taught them, but it works.  It's a symbiotic relationship between horse people and non-horse people.  We get frustrated with each other from time to time, but we still need to co-exist.

So, like most horse people, off I go to be amongst a tribe of which I am not a member.  I may have the magic, but I can't give it to you.  I'm not God.  I'm just a horse person.

Have a great day!  Thanks for reading!

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