I was around nine years old when I first fell in love with horses.
My mom had dabbled in the equestrian world for a while, but when I showed in interest in riding, my neighbor offered me lessons on her retired hunter jumper, a sweet older mare named Lady. The following summer, I was able to lease Lady, and my lifelong adventure with horses began.
I would eventually move on to more challenging mounts and though I learned something new with each horse I rode or trained, for the most part, I assumed I was the one doing most of the “teaching”. Years later however, I would experience a paradigm shift, learning to view horses as the teachers instead.
Here are a few life lessons I’ve learned from them:
Patience is indeed a virtue. If you’ve been around horses much, you probably know patience is a basic requirement. Yet what surprises me is just how little patience some horse people have. Many want a horse’s immediate cooperation without considering why the horse might balk at their request (or demand) in the first place. Because of my horses, I’ve learned to dig deeper, to seek understanding when there’s a problem. I’ve also learned not to expect immediate results, but rather to put in the hard work required first.
Enjoy the little things. It might sound trite, but horses have taught me to slow down and live in the moment. While my idea of fun once revolved around fast horses and prize money, I now enjoy simpler horse-related pleasures such as sitting on the back porch with a mug of tea, watching my small herd graze. Or maybe a bareback ride through the hay meadow. My horses aren’t worried about tomorrow’s problems; they live in the now. It’s a good reminder for us all.
Love isn’t about what others can do for you. It’s about accepting them as they are. This notion came as a startling realization but now seems so obvious. When my barrel horse, Hershey, was mysteriously injured some time ago, I spared no expense searching for answers. But when it became clear he’d never compete again, I realized it wasn’t the barrel racing I loved so much, but him—and horses, in general. I have another mare who’s become unrideable because of an injury, but I’ve vowed to care for them until the end. Because I love them.
What life lessons have you learned from horses?
Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as an owner/barefoot trimmer and certified equine acupressure practitioner. She hosts the blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse, where she regularly shares information on barefoot, equine nutrition, and holistic horse health. Once an avid barrel racer, Casie now enjoys just giving back to the horses who have given her so much. Follow Casie at www.casiebazay.com.