This is something I've been thinking about as I've contemplated the theme--writing and horses. I'm still in the middle of this book giveaway--two copies of Kiss Tomorrow Hello (drawing February 10th)--and I'm wondering what makes a good horse/human story.
Here's my list on how I've changed working with horses:
1. I talk to them less than I did. I've evolved toward quieter exchanges. Even in the saddle, I cluck and kiss less--moving more toward physical cues than verbal ones.
2. I'm calmer when they start to get excited. I'm with them so often, I have a pretty good idea of what sets them off and how they'll react. If I stay quiet, it helps them to calm down.
3. I don't sweat about how good they look day to day. I know they clean up good when I want them to, other than that, they seem to like to be dirty, so I don't fight it.
4. I rarely use gadgets anymore. I have a few staples, and that's about it. Rope halter, lead, long line, long whip, saddle, spurs, etc. I buy a lot less, too.
How have I changed personally?
1. I'm more of a loner or more in need of my alone times. I think it's because my animals draw me toward home.
2. As a follow-up to number one--all of my friends anymore seem to be horse people. Most of my socializing is on the trail or, in winter, at the Cowgirl Coffee shop. We like to talk about....um, horses. So, it's a self-limiting group.
3. I deleted three because I thought about it and it wasn't really true. Maybe I'm more honest with myself after working with horses. LOL.
4. More tuned into my natural environment. This is a BIG one. I used to be a person who did not key into the fine details of nature--horseback rides and seeing things from my horse's perspective, has made me hyper-sensitive to sounds, sights, smells, feelings--on the trail.
5. I'm more forgiving of myself. I don't know why this is--it could be because I'm getting older, but I also guess that it's because I spend so much time with animals, who, as you know, take you as you are that day--were you kind? Did you tend to them? Were you present?--it's rubbed off onto my own views of myself. Which could also be worded--"helped me overcome my fears"--since my greatest fear when I started working with horses again was that my failures defined me. It's been a rare gift to see the day through the eyes of the horse--you are who you are today. Good human beings are the ones who also see people like that--it shows humility and strength to take people where they're at right now and not hold grudges--grudges come from FEAR. (Since I had so much to write about number five, I think it's safe to assume that this is where my own horse/human story would begin.)
6. I have more patience for menial tasks. Think, groom horse, horse rolls in dirt--clean stall, horse messes in stall immediately. It's like dishes and laundry, but stinkier and messier.
These are just some thoughts--I'm sure I've changed in other ways, too.
I'm curious--how have you all changed? If you don't have horses--how have your opinions changed about them? Opinions of Mustangs? Thoughts about a life with horses?
Here are a few shots from the barn--as I sign off from the blog today (remember--every one of your comments is an entry in to the book giveaway):
My sweet horse-husband tolerating Ezzie on the 4-wheeler as he works on repairing the guttering that Beautiful ripped off the barn. (He's "allergic" to cats--though he seems much less allergic to barn cats who earn their living!)
Remember what I said about having more tolerance for menial tasks?
Good job on the guttering! Day 6 and it's still up, though I put my odds on Beautiful for pulling it down again.
Ezzie loves the wheel barrow--she insists on staying in it to the last moment--no matter what's being put in there!
The pond that formed in Beautiful's turnout.