Last week I truly encountered every emotion known to man at the horse clinic in Georgia. Excitement, frustration, anger, helplessness, insecurity, overwhelmed, tears of happiness and sadness flowed freely. There was so much information given. There were so many lessons learned about myself and my horses. My brain is still in “information overload” mode but I am starting to sort it all out.
Horses teach us things about ourselves that we cannot even begin to imagine. Our two instructor’s Ari and Hayden are in their early twenties. They have been around horses all their lives. They are wise beyond their years and they keep refining their skills. They have truly been given a gift from God and it is truly amazing to sit back and listen to them and watch how they break down complex thing and make them simple.
If I lay it all on the table here and I am perfectly transparent, they taught this 48 year old a lot about herself and the instructions and lessons with the horses were a bonus.
There were a couple of days that I said, ” Bali made me angry or frustrated.” It was he did this and I did that. My words reflected what was very clear, there was not a partnership. I learned that Bali was being Bali and what he does naturally. Those days showed me that I don’t know how to maintain my composure in certain situations and I was not acting emotionally fit for my horses. When I got frustrated with him and myself it was because he was not doing what I wanted him to do. He did not react favorably when I lost my temper because he thinks like a prey animal and I was acting like a predator. His instincts will always prevail and he’ll do whatever it takes to get away from the predator. Yes, that could involve, running off, shutting down or rearing or whatever it takes to get rid of the predator which was me.
I love my horses dearly. I have rarely been angry around them. I have learned this past week that I possessed limited knowledge about natural horsemanship and that is what triggered the emotions that I was feeling. IT also did not help to be in the hot blazing sun ALL day and experiencing the first major sunburn that I have had in years. One day it was pouring down rain and we were still going. Lack of sleep was another factor. Away from my routine and my comfortable familiar surrounding all added up to a hectic week. But, when I start breaking it down, it showed me that it is really easy to maintain your composure when all the external things around us are in sync. It is really revealing when the pressure is turned way up and my reaction to it all.
I went out the next morning with a different attitude. I was determined to not show any emotions. Calmly ask everything. All the tasks we could not do the day before we sailed through them. Same horse, same HOT SUN conditions just with a different attitude on my part. It created a different attitude in him. My words changed also. It was now , WE did this and WE did that. I was amazed. I was wanting to break out with shouting and dancing and margaritas on the house for all but I had to control my emotions even when I was happy. What a life lesson.
The more we learn about horses the more we can set ourselves up for success. It can only get better the more knowledge we gain, the time we take and the time we set aside to practice with them perfectly. Keep refining our skills. The horses will mimic their owner. Boy, was that a lightbulb moment. He can only be as good as the leadership I am offering him. If I do not have the same high standards day to day it will speak volumes through him.
Ari and Hayden have theory classes every afternoon. They breakdown the barriers we have with horses in a classroom environment. It was powerful. They were relating how we have low standards with horses. Their tag line was, “Don’t be a hussy.” I was a hussy without realizing it. Some days I require the horses to have great manners and be respectful and then there are days that I am in a hurry and I will let them by with less than acceptable behavior. They said think of it this way, would we be ok with our spouses being faithful part-time? Well, obviously there was a big NO in the room. We should not allow our horses to be respectful and mannerly part time. It takes time to be a good leader but it is so worth it. Horses live in the moment. They do not have sadness over the past and they do not think about the future. Each day is a new day with them. In class we talked a lot about spiritual lessons and the Lord. One of the things that was said that I think we will all leave with was, “Their mercies are new every morning.”
Let me say that again, Their mercies are new every morning. I can see God at work in this clinic. I can see that we must continue in the journey of life just like the journey with horses. There was a day that I wanted to pack it up and go home and treat myself to a day at the spa but I didn’t ! I stepped back and knew my limits were maxed out for the day. I got up the next morning and faced the challenge. Isn’t that just like this life journey we all are on today. There are days we say Lord, it is to hard. I can’t overcome this challenge but He provides a way. He is our strength that we need to make it through. He never promised us that it would be easy but it is doable. Keep refining. Keep running the race that is set before us.
I see that there are a lot more layers to me that have to be peeled back and confronted. God is stripping away more and more. I did not even know some of the issues I experienced this week were in me. He has a way of teaching us privately and if we don’t listen, publicly. I am so thankful His mercies are new every morning with each new rising of the sun. I am also so thankful every time I look at my horses that they possess that mercy also. We can forget about what did not go well the day before. We can concentrate on the moment. We can build a relationship one step at a time. We are building a foundation for a lasting relationship that this horse will have eyes for nobody but me. It takes time, skill, knowledge, patience and determination. My love for them trumps all the other emotions. I will not give up, let up, slow down or back away from this partnership with my horses. I will continue working and learning and refining our relationship so when I walk in their presence all three of them will have no problem recognizing me. They will see me as their fearless leader who protects them and cares for them. They will have no problem following me with anything I ask them to do. They will follow me not because I make them do something but because THEY WANT to do what I ask.
IF it is one thing this past week has taught me, it is life does not get easier, we just get stronger ~ For we CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us ~