Friday, May 13, 2022

Finding Meaning In an Equine Lifestyle

Woke up in time to work out for about an hour--go pick up Audrey and ride with Audrey, Tim, Sam, and Terry for a brisk five mile session before going to the office. As the work day winded to a close hustled out to the horse lot where Tam had brought a guest out, an experienced rider who had never ridden a Colonial Spanish horse (Tam fixed that problem!) Sushi supper with Tam and her guest--hustle back to the horse lot to meet a young lady from Kentucky who is doing a study on the wild horses of the Atlantic Islands. 

 They got detained a bit and were running behind schedule--As six pm rolled around we prepared for our final session on natural horsemanship and emotional health. In the mean time we moved a wild BLM mare into the round pen. She had not been handled in a while and eventually she let me slip a rope over her head and brush her and deworm her. She was terrified and hyper reactive. After about 1/2 an hour she settled in so sweetly that I put a pad and saddle on her and lunged her until time for class.

 My wife, Beth and granddaughter arrived.  In the final session of this series on horses and mental health we wrapped things up by reviewing prey animal world view, communication, and moved into what Stoicism and cognitive behavioral therapy teaches about the impact of our thoughts, our words, our actions and our relationships with time. These messages were hammered home with repeated illustrations of how our relationships with horses can give us insight into each of these dynamics. 

 Toward the end of the session our guests from Kentucky arrived. Audrey and I showed them around with special attention to distinguishing the differences between our strains of Colonial Spanish horses--Banker (Corolla and Shackleford), Choctaw, Marsh Tacky,  high percentage Grand Canyon, Galiceno, and what are sometimes called Brislawn horses. The young lady had done her homework. She knew a lot about the horses before she got here, but as darkness was beginning to fall I learned that she had never ridden a Colonial Spanish horse, much less a formerly wild Corolla. Certainly could not have her leaving the horse lot with such a void in her life experiences. We saddled up Samson, our only Corolla who exhibits a strong running-walk gait. She went from being a student of these extraordinary horses to being a rider of them.

 If one's life is empty, go fill it. Bringing horsemanship into the lives of others is the best way to bring meaning into one's life that I have found.

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