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.


Anonymous said...

So relieved to "hear" from you once again! After the C'est Fini post on August 26th - was afraid you had become discouraged & stopped writing. I'm very glad that isn't the case. You and yours are a beacon of light in an era where our horses are still being slaughtered (largely due to large breed organizations) and our wild horses & burros are being eradicated from public lands. What you do for children AND adults in showing what CAN be done with horses needs to continue. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Ray Hunt stated that one cannot do this for the money...and indeed...often scraped for gas money to get to the next of..if not the most gifted horseman of our age. Busted for a few bucks to go and teach the most skills anyone can learn. That is the cowboy way. It ain't easy.
Parelli asked hunt...but can you not do it for both? And proceeded to get very...very wealthy...selling gizmos and cookie cutter training. Parelli was dead wrong. It is not about the money. It is indeed about people and horses.

When you do it right...just right....the line between little girl and horse blurrs...sometimes it disappears for a few moments. You don't look like you believe me. Pfft. You hush amd go watch young Miss Heard...all sixty pounds of her...twirl that thousand pound Arab around her fingers. She and Jasmyn are one such magical pair. That young lady is a horseman....she knows it is all about the bond...the contract between human and equine....She is a horseman.

Buck Brannaman...also a disciple...for lack of a better term...of Ray Hunt....he never set out to get rich doing this....he was blessed with it. Everyday that guy climbs on a is to help that horse...or that horse and his rider to become better and closer.

Here might be the best way to say matter what I do all week....I did the most important thing today that I can possibly do all week. I do not care if I take a bullet for a president or avert a nuclear catastrophe. The most important thing I will do this week.....will be the ten minutes I spent standing out in a dusty, sunny pasture with a lonely old donkey...just loving on him and letting him love on me. Nick has learned to give me a hug...he comes amd rests his old face between my knees and just stands there with me. What could be more important than that bond? I will probably learn more about life from that old donkey than nearly any human.
How many humans never know how that feels? Nick is one of the very best people I know.

Anonymous said...

And how lucky you are to be able to love on that donkey? VERY!

Anonymous said...

He is a sweet old man.