Why Am I Doing This?

T-Minus 7 (16Jun2017)

I have had an amazing journey with horses. I got my first horse when I was 47 years old. I had a lot to learn and I had to learn to change myself in order to have a meaningful and safe relationship with horses. I expanded my horizons by working with other people’s horses. I have worked with “problem horses” and have started a few horses from scratch. When I retired there was one thing on my “bucket list” that I still wanted to do before I got too old: I wanted to train a wild mustang. (Yes, I know the technical difference between “wild” and “feral”. My perspective is that if a horse was born in the wild, he’s wild.)

But, I have to honestly ask myself “Why and I doing this?” It seems like it’s all about me. I want to tick off that bucket list item and to be able to say “I trained a wild mustang”. And, I admit that I will have a great deal of satisfaction when I have accomplished that. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being proud when you have accomplished something. As long as you don’t let it affect your ego. There is a difference between being proud and being prideful.

However, in accomplishing this task I must always remember that I am involving a living, thinking animal to whom I should show respect and empathy. Here is my overall philosophy:

In my relationship with horses, I have the responsibility to be the leader and to train my horse in a way that is beneficial to both of us, utilizing the most natural approach that the horse can understand. I am not perfect (complete) in my ability to do this. But, it is my goal.

In order to do that, I will continue to practice the following principles:

  • I will always strive to do what is best for both the horse and myself.
  • There will be no thoughts or discussions about how quickly I can accomplish any level of training. I will take the time that it takes to accomplish any particular training task. If I get stuck on a certain exercise, I need to determine if:
    • the horse is not ready and I need to back up a bit
      I am not being effective in communicating to the horse and I need to figure out how to improve
  • I will NEVER blame the horse for anything that is not going well. If something is not working well, I will pause and think it thru and change my approach as needed.
  • I will always end every training session on a positive note.