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


Kerry said...

'Value', sadly, is so often defined in monetary terms. Real value of a relationship - be it human species or other - is priceless. Americans especially are very prone to describing value in only material/monetary terms. Would someone place thier spouse in monetary terms? I personally think all living creatures have the same value and that man is not 'above' other creatures on this earth. Therefore my relationship with my blue heeler and my shetland pony are as precious to me as my relationship with my husband (and fortunately I don't have to choose between any of them!)

Ashlee said...

Thanks Kerry, I agree that real value is priceless and not based on materialism! Thank goodness for our "priceless" pet and human relationships!