“We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there, too.” ~Kristen Martz
When you think of learning the proverbial lesson, ones pictures themselves in a classroom with a human voice droning back at them in monotone levels about algebraic math. I can honestly say that those lessons have been long forgotten, and I have yet to find need for them in my daily life. The most memorable lessons I have learned have been taught to me by my children, my dogs, and last but not least, my horses.
These three are such true reflections of me and my actions; products of the environment they have been exposed to. If this statement is true, my border collie’s narcissistic, paranoid, obsessive, spastic behavior, my kids’ worry, their desire to please and be understood, and their excessive sighing and eye-rolling, and my horse’s need to be around others of his kind, work hard until the job is done, and lack of finesse or foresight of the outcome, and being driven by what’s for dinner, humbly remind me just how much work I have to do. (Did I just admit to a whole new level of crazy?!) Possibly, but I am okay with that. It just means I am willing to admit my shortcomings, reflect on them, and do better next time.
Above all, my horse is my biggest and truest therapy. Who knows which institution I would be in without him? This is where the element of lesson enters in because when I am with my horse, I allow him to teach me. I am, of sorts, his student, but also his partner. This is when I have to let go of my control, remove all element of judgment against myself and my horse, and allow him to be an extension of me emotionally and physically.
I am taken back to childhood memories of riding horses; when I didn’t overthink riding, or life, but simply rode for the fun of it. Tapping into that as an adult is much more difficult, but when I break this lesson down into simple truth, it’s not really as hard as I make it. These are just a few of the lessons I’m learning from a life with horses:
Respect: Everyone is different, every situation, every past. Respect it all.
Forgiveness: Everyone needs it at some point. Remove the element of judgment because it’s not your job to judge, and the outcome is more harmonious.
Responsibility: You and you alone are responsible for your actions. Quit blaming others for the poor outcome.
Strength: Mental strength is the most important and your attitude is everything.
Believe: In yourself and your situation; you are worth the time and effort; be positive and stay that way.
Patience: Accept that things can happen in a different order than what you have in your mind.
Peace: Find it. You need it in all elements of life.
Hope: Build your expectations on it and cultivate it.
Faith: Have it and believe in your abilities and yourself at all times.
Love: Above all else; never lose the ability to find love in all things in this life.
When I look in the mirror, I don’t always like what I see, but I know I have the ability to change it and do better. I am ever grateful I have my horse as a reminder that I am a constant work in progress, but to recognize the victories no matter how big or small they may be.