Saturday, December 9, 2017

Will You Please Just Take it Easy? Learning Horses and Horsemanship

With Christmas approaching now is the time for families to come together and in the warmth of the holiday spirit many of you will have the opportunity to say something to your parents that should have been said years ago. Yes, now is the time to have a nice meal, sit around a fireplace and find out exactly why they decided to raise you to be a neurotic perfectionist.

The internet exposes us to more knowledge than I ever imagined possible. It also exposes us to more ignorance than I ever knew existed. For reasons that I will never understand, those with the most deeply ingrained ignorance feel the strongest need to establish rules and standards for others to live by.

Here is a simple test to see if your psychological makeup is getting in the way of you having a healthy relationship with your horse (and with everyone else around you). Close your eyes. Get ready to be honest with yourself (for some of you I know that this will take you into uncharted territory).

Now repeat to yourself the simple two word phrase "Good enough."

Now ask yourself what that phrase means to you. For way too many chronically unhappy people that phrase is translated, "Not good enough." When the phrase is used by such people it is generally uttered with a disapproving sigh, e.g "Well, I guess that is 'good enough'... for now"

A few of us who were lucky enough to be raised by parents who sought to produce confident, happy adults instead of another generation of hand wringing self-loathers understand that the term means that something is "good" and it is "enough". If a thing is "good" and "enough" then I am free to leave it alone and move on to another task.

Do you try to create an environment for your horse that is perfectly safe making any injury or mishap impossible? If you do you are doomed to failure. There are no such environments. Do you load your horse up with whatever supplements everyone else at your barn swears by? Horses need forage, water, air, exercise, and the ability to live in small bands.

When you provide them with those things you have done a good enough job of caring for the horse. If you do not provide them with those things no amount of money flushed away chasing the approval of the established horse world will be enough to make up for denying your horse what it actually needs.

If your relationship with your horse is not satisfactory don't waste time calling the vet out to examine the horse until you give yourself a simple examination. Ask yourself (and honestly answer yourself) was I raised by constantly disapproving parents? Was I raised by neurotic, hand wringing parents who showed how much they loved me by showing how much they constantly "worried" about me? Am I raising my children in either of these ways?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, and if you are not willing to work hard to change yourself, your relationship with a horse will be a source of constant disappointment. The good news is that it is never to late to make things better. You can change and your horse can help you change.

The first step is to recognize that perfectionism is not a virtue that produces solid results. It is simply an impediment to happiness and creativity and if you suffer from this horrible condition you cannot get better without working as hard to get well as others worked all of your life to make you this sick.

1 comment:

Dianne W said...

Amen! Amen! Amen!
That post is both good and enough.