We're coming up on 4 years at Carolina Morning Stables, and we have learned a lot! Most of it from the horses. (Truth be told, we've learned a lot from Richard Schouten as well, but that's another post for another day.)
If you choose to look and listen horses will give you a pretty good reflection of yourself, and they'll send some very clear messages. If you are willing to listen and acknowledge and accept what they tell you, you can learn a lot. Here are a few things the horses on our farm have told me:
1. Check your baggage at the gate, Lady. I really don't care what kind of day you've had. Well, actually, that's not true, I care a lot about the kind of day you've had. As a matter of fact whatever kind of day you bring in to my pasture is exactly what I'll give back to you. You're aggravated? Me too. You're nervous? Me too. You're not paying attention to what you're doing? Me too. You're calm? Me too. You're happy? Me too. I'm just trying to be helpful. So, we'll both be better off if you take a deep breath and drop your troubles.
2. Oh, were you in a hurry? I get really flustered when we're in a hurry. I'm sorry but I seem to have forgotten which feed bucket is mine, and oh I just broke the fence. That new horse got too close to the fence so I kicked him ... and the fence. Did you know the hot wire is down? Well, it wasn't down until just now when I kicked Bucky. Anyway, it seems that you have quite a few chores to catch up on. Why are we in such a hurry?
3. Holy shit are those CARROTS in your hand?! This is the best day ever. Carrots make everything better.
4. Boundaries are really good. I'm always sure to let anyone know when they have crossed the line. I pin my ears and give a good stink face. Sometimes I'll lift a leg to kick, but I like to give the other guy a chance to back off before actually kicking. I can stand up for myself, but I'd really rather not get in a fight. When you set good boundaries you can do that.
5. It is excellent to have good friends. We help each other out. Cisco and I stand nose to tail so we can swat flies off each other's face. Help your friends and they'll help you right back.
6. You can trust me. I won't judge you if you have a bad day. I won't blame you if you mess up. And I won't ever tell anyone else your secrets. It's the horse code, and a good one to live by.
Thank you, my beautiful horses for teaching me something every day.