Tips on Replacing Judgementalism with Bonding
Do you get frustrated when you are around other horse people, such as when you’re at your boarding stable, or participating in equine events with friends and/or strangers? Do you see poor horsemanship in action and you know a better way? Well here are five words that will help remove the stress that other horse people are causing in your life:
Let Them Have Their Thing
Yup – the next time you see someone being dragged away from the barn by a horse with no manners; the next time you find yourself wincing at someone getting a bad lesson from an alleged instructor; the next time you see someone bouncing in the saddle and using their reins for balance . . . let them have their thing.
DISCLAIMER – PLEASE READ: this is not about cruelty and animal abuse. If you witness animal cruelty or abuse please report it to your local authorities.
What do want to do with your horse? Do you enjoy training, competing, trail riding? Whatever it is, we can assume you have chosen it because it gives you joy, even passion. Your horse is important to you! When we look around our equine environment, we see other people who are somewhat or maybe even very much like ourselves – their horses are important to them, too.
Horse Time Should Not Be Chore Time
My mother was a skilled and talented gardener. Flowers of all varieties bloomed spring, summer and fall in the borders and beds around her house; a vegetable garden overflowing with tomatoes, lettuce, beans and herbs helped to grace the dinner table. She was also a gifted artist, and flowers were among her most favorite subjects; she painted big colorful bouquets of iris, poppies and hydrangea.
You would think this opportunity to nourish such beauty would bring her joy, but frequently that wasn’t the case. The garden always needed tending; weeds needed to be pulled, shrubs needed to be pruned, mulch needed to be put down, vegetables needed to be harvested – it was stressful for her and made her discontented.
There was no one telling her that she wasn’t doing it right, or that she needed to work harder at it, in fact she received many compliments, but still – it was a chore that somehow robbed her of something - it couldn’t be just fun for its own sake, there had to be a price to pay. For me, the saddest part of all is that this was self-inflicted: she wielded full control over her situation and she could have chosen to be joyful, but she didn’t. She CHOSE to make flower gardening, of all things - stressful.
In our current century, in our First World lives, horses are not a necessity for most people. Unless we are old time farmers or cattle ranchers, horse ownership is a hobby or a sport. Like flower gardening, participation is 100% voluntary.
So why do so many people get angst-ridden, frustrated and even angry about something they could stop doing at any time?
What does this have to do with horses? Nothing, really.
But it does have something to do with mindfulness.
If a piece of Tupperware falls down on my head every time I go into the pantry to get a can of beans, I need to fix that because it’s just plain stupid. And if my husband accuses me of saving more glass jars than Howard Hughes, I might have a problem because . . . ewww.
Why WAS I saving glass jars? Adams 100% Natural Peanut Butter jars to be exact, plus a few odd sized pickle jars and such. Some of them I use for storing things like nuts and candy. But if my family goes through one jar of peanut butter per week, in one year I would have about 45 more empty jars than I could ever use or have room for, and anyway if I ever really did need another jar, it’s just a few more slabs of peanut butter toast away.
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