Horses are amazing teachers…that is why I am dedicated to bringing the lessons they have for us to as many people who want to know them as I can. I want to partner with them and create a safe place where we can all come together to be happier, healthier, and have a little more fun.
I have had the great pleasure of having horses in my life, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I know first hand that they can show us parts of ourselves, and aspects of our lives, that we might only be able to see from their perspective.
This is just a handful of the wisdom and lessons I’ve learned from the countless horses that have graced me with their presence throughout my life…the lessons that have changed me to my core, and are a part of who I am.
The lessons I’ve learned from horses…
It’s the ride that matters.
When you ride a horse, it is as though you borrow time. In that moment, all that matters is what is happening between you and your horse, while the rest of the world seems to pause and wait for your return. Horses are only living in the present moment, and bring us there with them.
Life is one long ride. It is your ride, and no one else's. Just you, and how you want to live your life. How you connect to it is entirely up to you. Are you going to passively sit back, and let life pass you by, or are you going to gallop at it full speed with the wind at your face? The choice is yours.
Face your fears, and always get back on.
There were countless times I got bucked off, flung off, or simply fell off my horses as a young girl. It’s an old tried and true cowboy rule; if you get bucked off - you gotta get back on. And the thing about falling off is, when you get back up and continue on, you have the opportunity to improve.
Falling and failing are both a part of life. When you can learn to embrace it, and know that you will jump right back in the saddle and kick onward, you have a ‘leg up’ time and time again over the rider next to you who falls and stays down.
Your “imperfections” are okay, and a part of who you are.
Horses possess a beautiful ability to forgive, see past your imperfections, and give you another try. What horses seek is a leader; a leader that will be strong in their convictions, and calm in their approach.
Even if a leader isn’t “perfect”, they will still follow. There is much to be said about using your own gifts and strengths in order to lead, without feeling the need to be “perfect” to do so. You do not have to be "perfect" to be a leader. You do, however, have to believe in what you are doing.
Authenticity will get you further than trying to be something you’re not- ever will.
This lesson goes hand in hand with being okay with imperfection. Horses would rather see you raw, real, and not trying to hide behind a mask. To horses, those types of masks are very scary and untrustworthy.
Horses take you ‘as-is’, and as long as you can put down the walls you have built up, they will accept you for who you are. But don’t try to be something or someone you are not, in order to please other people, or a horse. It is an act that can't last forever.
Control is an illusion.
Growing up, with some ‘old school’ ways to riding and training horses, I thought control was what we were all aiming for. Control over our horses, control over the people in our lives, and control over the outcomes everyone was searching for.
Until I realized that the best horsemen and the best humans, are those who are willing to work with you, and not against you. They never try to get the upper hand, or rule with an iron fist. To them, life is a partnership, a union, and a dance. We are never really ‘in control’ of our horses, or our lives. The sooner you learn to dance with that knowing, the better.
You win, whether you come in first or last, as long you tried your best with what you had.
When I was a little girl, I had a pony named Keeper, because I wanted to ‘keep’ him forever. He was not a very nice pony sometimes. There were times we would trot into a horse show ring, and he would jump every fence just fine. Then there were times that he wouldn’t even go over the first one, and we would be eliminated, before we really even got the chance to go.
I would be so upset that I didn’t get a ribbon, I recall my poor mother consoling me with a ‘special’ award she would give me, just so I didn’t go home empty handed… again. But whether I would win, or loose, I would always inch my way closer and closer to the next competition where I would get to try again. And eventually I got another horse, and he and I went on to win many ribbons together.
You must find your herd.
Horses are herd animals, and they are always connected to one another. They use their herd instincts as their means for survival in the wild. As a human, sometimes I would feel like the Lone Ranger, without a Tonto. Years went by before I realized that in order to have a ‘herd’ of my own, meaning people who I felt connected to and safe among, that I might need to do what a horse does: I would need to whinny at them, and search for them, until I found them.
That way, you can be surrounded with a soul herd that feeds your deepest longing for connection and belonging. So if you are ever feeling like the Lone Ranger, as I have before, consider seeking out your herd. Remember, a herd can also consist of just two horses. Seek until you find them, and you will.
There’s just something about a cowboy.
Okay. So maybe this is a whole other subject for another time. But I had to add it in to the lessons I've learned from horses, because where there are horses, there are cowboys. So, yes, cowboys are my weakness, I’ll admit it now.
I am talking about a real cowboy; the one who loves his horses, his animals, his family, and has unwavering faith in the universe. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing some real nice cowboys, and the not-so-real ones too. I have learned from all of them, and their horses. A man who is strong, grounded, and comfortable in his own boots, is just a beautiful thing. The rest of the cowboy stories I will leave for a later date.
And the last, and very most important life lesson I’ve learned from horses…
Love is all that matters. That is why we are here on earth.