Monday, September 14, 2015
It's Just Not About The Horses Anymore
Sometimes things just jump out of your mouth before they have fully settled into your mind. Usually one regrets such things. On the rarest of occasions something real and true is what jumps out. Such a thing happened during the first session of our Introduction to Natural Horsemanship Session a couple of weeks ago.
As I have many times before, I said that the value of Natural Horsemanship is not merely to produce better horses, but, instead, it is to produce better people. But my mouth just kept going and went on to say, that there was no way that I would spend so much money and put so much effort into something just for the horses and that it was the people that matter.
It is months like this that really drive that point home. I am exhausted from the additional programming that we are doing but am much more exhausted by the demands to water the animals during another period of drought. We are a non profit. No one here gets paid. When program participants are unable to pay monthly participation fees I cover bills.
Yes, I have reached the point in my life where it is the people that matter. Oh yes, I certainly hope that what we are doing prevents the extinction of the Bankers (the horses of the Outer Banks of North Carolina). I certainly hope that our efforts to publicize and promote other strains of nearly extinct Colonial Spanish horses helps those strains. Those goals are at the heart of what we do and they are not being set aside.
But they are not the most important things to me now.
Formal aspects of what we do, like our program held weekly for those in the in patient program at our local Veteran's Hospital and Ashley Edwards training programs through Road to Repair, LLC are among the most important things that we do. The improvement in the lives of the participants in our program is one of the most important achievements of what we do. The building of the confidence of young people to the degree that they understand that as adults they can administer their own breed conservation programs like ours that save horses, and people, is one of the most important things that we do.
I am always looking for ways to improve what we do but there is one central guiding principle that is absolutely essential to making the program work. We must never seek to placate the established horse world. We must never seek their approval. We must never extend an olive branch in their direction.
There can be no compromise with that world. It is a world of greed and competition instead of generosity and cooperation. It is a world that happily trades the suffering and slaughter of horses for profit. It is a world that sets up artificial costs to horse ownership that places owning a horse beyond the reach of working families and makes horses into toys for little rich girls.
It is a world in which I have absolutely no place.
Posted by Steve Edwards