Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The "Value" of a Horse

So can a horse choose a person? Those of us "horsey" folks undoubtedly know the answer is YES! How is it that when we are looking to buy a horse, we innately seem to know when we’ve found “the one?” I believe it’s because we somehow can sense when our horse has “chosen” us.

The bond between horse and human is a very powerful and unique relationship that only those who’ve experienced can truly appreciate and understand. It can, in fact, have a life-changing affect on someone. Many horsemen are familiar with the famous quote by Sir Winston Churchill, “there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” Now, my husband and other “non-horsey” folk would add to this, “and bad for the pocketbook” …sound familiar anyone? In their defense, it's hard to understand the value of the horse-human bond without ever experiencing it.

Despite the “expense” of a horse “hobby,” those of us lucky enough to experience this intense bond will become better people because of it. “Deep pockets” become a second thought and easily justified when realizing in the “grand scheme of things” the invaluable life lessons we learn from a horse we’ve grown close to. The value of this special relationship extends well beyond superficial logic. The value of this relationship can change the very soul of a person for the better! Horses have the power to teach us the value of teamwork, discipline, dedication, loyalty, selflessness, trust, work-ethic, pride in accomplishing goals, listening skills, communication skills, patience, respect, conquering fear, and most importantly humility and love!

Out of curiosity, I recently Google’d the value of a horse. What I found amazed me and inspired me to write this. I found the “non-horsey” definition…

” They can help with people riding the horse to get work done. They are also a good way of transportation, also very small ponies can be used as guide horses for the blind they also help with rehabilitating people who have been hurt. They used to help plow land, before they had tractors. ….
Wow, how limited this is! Horses have so much more value than just what is on the surface. But then again, I guess the reason I’m able to recognize this is because I’ve been “taught” by horses to look beyond the surface. To find value in what others’ would discard as useless. I’ve been lucky enough to experience horse bonds with the type of horses that most wouldn’t give a second thought to and pass off as useless.

What I’ve discovered that I wish to share with others is that truly, it’s the most “useless” horses that can turn out to be the most priceless! The one’s which can have a lasting effect on one’s life and be the motivating force behind success. The inspiration to keep moving forward! The secret to “value” in a horse is the bond between horse and human. If you find a horse who likes you, who chooses you, then that horse will burst his heart and soul for you! This same horse may not be one tenth as talented with another person or rider, but is indeed, a horse of another color with the one he’s chosen!

I’d like to challenge all horse people to take the test. Take a closer look at the “value” of a horse next time you’re in a position to purchase one. Look beyond the surface, and take note of the horse’s reaction to you. Are you being chosen? If you feel this bond, take a chance on a horse that logic would otherwise cause you to walk away from. Give one in need a chance. Don’t walk away simply because one is “older” than you’d like, or is the shaggy, ugly duckling that’s been forgotten and turned out to pasture. Don’t just walk away because perfection is not in front of you. Here’s a secret, one of the most important "values" of a horse is the journey you take with a horse on the quest for perfection! This journey is far more rewarding than taking the “easy” way out and choosing a horse that’s already “perfect” by usual standards.

Now I’ve been riding horses all of my life and I will tell you from my own experience, that sometimes the ugly duckling may very well turn out to be the beautiful swan, and it's value worth far more than you’d ever imagined! I’ve had one such horse in my childhood which forever changed me for the better. I’ve also experienced another in adulthood which again emphasized to me the “value” of a horse bond. Ironically, this horse was a give-away- a handicapped horse, which had only one good eye. A scraggly, older, little guy that no one would have given a second thought to. This little angel, truly “chose” me. I can say without a doubt, that this horse loved me as much as is possible for a horse! He helped heal me when I was ill and showed me the way back to health. He gave me back my excitement and passion for life and for the future! I, in turn, helped “heal” him and bring him back into health and fitness. Due to our bond, he blossomed and he was able to experience the love from a human that he’d so obviously been searching for and craving.

Always aware of his loss of sight in one eye, I truly never noticed this while working with him. Never have I experienced such joy while riding as I did with this little blind-eyed horse! We could go out in the open fields and gallop with both of us enjoying and loving every single minute of it. This little guy truly “Doctored” my soul and will always hold a very special spot in my heart. No, I didn’t show him, I didn’t make money off of him, I didn’t really do anything with him other than enjoy the special time we spent together, I didn’t even own him! But, I did love him, and because of our bond and his “Choosing” me, my life’s focus has been forever changed. I will never forget this bond and its value, and I will be forever grateful for it. So you see, the value of even a give-away, handicapped, scraggly, “over the hill” horse can truly be priceless!

From Memphis Horses- A Blog All About Horses in Memphis & Beyond

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Senior Citizen's Rule!!!

As Featured On EzineArticles

I have a special soft spot for old horses. I've been fortunate in my lifetime to be around many aged horses and my experience with them has been so rewarding and full of joy!

There was a time when "old" may have been a horse in his teens. Now, with advancements in veterinary care, and better horse care knowledge, a horse's prime is his "teens." A horse whom in preteen years may have been "spooky and spunky" mostly due to lack of experience exposure, may be a completely different horse in his 20's.

Aged horses make fantastic teachers for inexperienced riders. They've "been there done that" so to speak, and tend to be more patient and forgiving with beginners. They have "mental maturity" which can make them a pure pleasure to work with. This is not to say they are "dead heads" or "nags!" They can have plenty of pep in the step, but are the trusty steeds riders choose when they want to have "FUN!" For example, I have a very talented and fun young Thoroughbred gelding, whose extremely well-behaved for his age. But, when I want to go out on a leisurely ride, and just have FUN, I go for one of the "old geezers" at our farm! I know, I won't have to focus on a "training ride" and can just focus on riding for joy!

Old horses can learn new tricks too! They often have the demeanor to learn new disciplines, such as carriage driving. They often make excellent therapy horses and their loving, trusting, and quiet nature can have an emotionally healing affect on their subjects. Babysitters they are! Old horses often bestow their wisdom and have a great calming affect on younger, inexperienced horses. They make good role models and examples to both horse and human!

I for one, wish more humans would take note of the special lessons old horses can teach us. They deserve to be appreciated, loved, and well-cared for in their later years rather than forgotten, discarded, and mislabeled as useless. Look into the eyes of an old schoolmaster, and you will see the years of stories hidden beneath. The mystery of what was and what is now. Once you realize this as I have, your heart may be forever changed by the realization of what a special gift these horses are and have been for us humans. They spend their lifetime in servitude to us- willingly. Stop and think how miraculous it really is that a 1000 lb creature willingly allows us to be "master."

All horses deserve to be loved and well-cared for, but especially old horses due to their many years of dedication and service. They deserve this respect back from us, and I hope to see more and more humans taking responsibility for their old "angels on earth" and show them the dignity in life and care that they so deserve right down to the end of their days.

From Memphis Horses- A Blog All About Horses in Memphis & Beyond