Saturday, August 2, 2008
Am I the only one that needs a reality check/attitude adjustment every now and then? Whether it's with a relationship, a job, or horse ownership, it's easy for me to get so caught up in just getting by that I forget who I am or temporarily lose sight of what I need to be doing. Add to this the fact that every day I realize there's even more I don't know than I realized the previous day. When it comes to horses, I am continually humbled by what I don't know. This is not surprising, since I operate more or less in a vacuum. Although I can always turn to Heather and Nita for help, I don't see them every day, or lately even every week. More often than not, my advice and instruction comes in the form of phone calls, emails, magazines, books, or I'm left to figure things out for myself any other way I can.
When I first met Heather & Nita, I was embarrassed by my lack of knowledge. I hated to get on a horse around them because I was afraid of looking foolish. Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous? Their kindness and acceptance (well, that and Heather bailing the first time she rode my horse) helped me to get over it. I no longer have any problem at all looking like a complete idiot in front of them...and do so fairly often. I want to learn and I am teachable.
In addition to being a creative outlet, the blogosphere has become a valuable resource for me. There are so many knowledgeable horse people who -- lucky for me -- blog about their experiences and are very generous sharing what they know. I honestly didn't know you aren't supposed to walk under the lead rope when your horse is tied. Never even thought about it. Thanks to a recent blog post, I do now, and you can be sure I won't do it again. And then there's the stuff that I do know, but for some reason -- laziness, sloppiness, whatever -- I've temporarily forgotten or at least lost clear sight of it. Which brings me to my point today.
This week, while reading the ever-growing number of horse blogs I follow, I realized that I have become lax and inconsistent when it comes to demanding respect and manners. Part of it is I'm still somewhat infatuated and sometimes tend to let lesser etiquette infractions slide. Part of it is immaturity; I've been at this less than two years. But the point is, I know how important it is, and I have been slacking off. I was gently reminded this week that this is not only counter-productive, but potentially dangerous. As one comment to the post so aptly put it, I have fallen into the "pet the pretty horsey" mindset. Oh man, guilty as charged.
I think it's a perfectly natural thing for we humans to try and create the world in our own image and likeness, as it were. Anthropomorphizing animal behavior helps us to make sense of things that sometimes make no sense to us. Horses are not people. They're not big dogs. Sometimes their behavior may appear to resemble dogs or people, but it's a superficial similarity. And while anthropomorphism can make for compelling storytelling or help convey a concept to non-horse people, ultimately, it's non sequitur. I know this too, but maybe it's the triple-digit temps that have caused me to go stupid. Regardless -- guilty as charged.
Reflection is worthless if not followed by action. I need to pay attention and insist on manners and respect from both my horses at all times. Jaz is not a problem; he's submissive and always respectful. But it's no damn wonder Poco's such a jerk. Yeah, he came with a lot of baggage, and when I first got him, I was a real hard-ass -- I had to be. Over time, I've softened. I've allowed him to take a step backwards by letting him get away with the small stuff. No more. I'm awake, I've smelled the coffee. My will be done!
Thank you, Mugwump Chronicles, for your thoughtful posts this week. You have no idea how much you have helped me. To all my other favorite horse bloggers (listed at right,) know that I benefit from what you share. No one ever has permission to bash me, but I always welcome help and advice.