What NOT to do When Your Horse is Scared (1/3)
Horses are 1000 pound lie-detectors. They know when you’re upset, but swallowing it. They know when you’re scared, but putting on a brave face. They know when you’re anxious, but pretending to be calm.
Horses without a doubt respond best when we are genuinely calm, composed, open and accepting.
This is common sense, but honestly, not always common practice.
Reflect on how you are around your horse. Are you always calm and composed? Are you always open and accepting? Or do you struggle with impatience and frustration when your horse isn’t doing what you want? Do you feel butterflies in your belly before mounting up? Does your heart close when your ride doesn’t turn out the way you expected?
It’s ok. You can admit it. Taking responsibility for it is one huge step closer to changing it.
And then the next step is changing it.
Why? Why, even though you know your horse responds better to you when you’re calm and composed, can’t you just be calm and composed? Why don’t you just be calm and composed for crying out loud? Why do you still feel impatient and frustrated, even though you know better??
Here’s one big reason.
Being calm and composed isn’t something you can just turn on and off.
If you spend all day feeling anxious, frustrated, worried, and stressed, you’ll have a hard time feeling calm and composed with your horse.
If all day at work you’re impatient and bossy with your colleagues, you’re going to bring that along to your horse and you won’t be calm and composed.
If you are overwhelmed with your kids all day, chances are it’ll be hard to be calm and composed with your horse.
If you were swimming in the soup of low self-worth all day, it’s tough to be calm and composed with your horse.
If you are Mr. Hyde for most of your day, it’ll be hard to return to Dr. Jekyll when you go out to your horse.
See, you spend all day one way, in one state, and then you go out to your horse expecting to magically enter a new state, a new way of being. It doesn’t always happen.
The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.
If you want to be calm and composed with your horse, you have to be calm and composed everywhere else too. You have to be calm and composed with your colleagues, your kids, your spouse, with that annoying email, with that menial task, with that irritating person, with that bank teller, the mailman, the cashier at the store.
The more you are calm and composed everywhere, the easier it’ll be to stay calm and composed no matter what happens. It will become a new pattern for you. And a new pattern is what you want. Your horse, the 1000 pound lie detector, will know when you’re being calm and composed, and when you’re acting calm and composed.
That’s one of the many challenges that horses present to us. Can you be the best version of yourself? Not just with your horse, not just when things go right, not just when things go wrong, but all the time? Because the way you do one thing is the way you do everything.