I started horse riding when I was 6 years old. At that time I was in love with these animals and as every girl that age I wanted to have my own pony. I must admit that I never really thought about the psychology behind my interest in horses until I now came to a point where I realized that my horse has taught me a lot in the past 11 years. I got my first horse when it was still very young and inexperienced. It was love at first sight when I saw him in the stable and my feeling was right. He carried me through my teenage years, college, university and now my professional life.
His name is Valentino.
Valentino is special to me because we have such a strong relationship. I’d say a lot of horse owners will probably say that about their horse but Valentino helped me to find my personality, learn how to challenge myself and how to find a balance in my life. Because I got so much out of this truly special relationship that has developed over the past 11 years, I want to share the best stories with the Steemit community.
1. Horses teach us responsibility and dedication.
Training a horse takes time but so does caring for it. When I got Valentino I was 15 years old and I’ll be completely honest; my parents thought that having a horse would just be a phase in my life and will be gone once I was getting into meeting some boys. ;-) Little did they know at this time…
The thing is that you can’t half heartedly own a horse. You have to be dedicated to it and always look after it. I tend to think that a horse is a little bit like having a child but the child doesn’t grow up. It stays at the same level and needs constant care. Looking after a horse is very time consuming and while being in school you’ll find the time to look after it, things will change when you begin working. Waking up early in the morning to feed the horse and bring it out is essential. Cleaning the barn, feeding and looking after them every day is like a routine for me. But that also means that you just sometimes can’t be that spontaneous. After work I have to go check up on my horse, while others go out for drinks or dinner. Being responsible for such a big animal has taught me a lot about commitment.
“Horses teach us how to build a long lasting relationship. You can’t just run away from it!”
2. You learn how to embrace living in the moment
A horse never thinks about tomorrow or yesterday. It lives in the moment and focuses on what is happening right now. The power of being in the now is very natural for horses. If we want that power as well, it will become natural for us too. A horse teaches you how to be present and share the moment between you and the horse. When I am going horse riding, I can forget about everything. I can just be there and spend some quality time with my closest friend. No phones, no music needed. I am just enjoying the moment. These times help us to focus and relax from our busy schedule. A horse will also reflect how you feel on a given day and try to calm you down if it feels that you're too anxious.
“I believe that horses have a gift that becomes very rare in our life. They take us on many journeys. They take us from point a to point B, but they also take us on deeper emotional journeys because they can feel so much.”
3. A horse loves you unconditionally
No matter how hard you try, you will never loose a horse friend. Horses love you without any conditions and value your care and time. They are very unique animals and can give you so much energy because they don't take it from others. We oftentimes think that sharing gossip will make us feel better or take away some of the negative thoughts we have. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. If you start focusing too much about the bad things that happen in your life and share these with your friends, it will bring everybody's energy level down. Horses don't do that because they are animals and can love unconditionally.
“I think that horses don’t care who you are, how important you are at work, how much money you make or what car you drive. A horse gives you honest feedback about your personality.”
4. A horse teaches you leadership
A horse weighs about 600-700 kg. If you’re on top of that it’s impossible to control the power. If a horse wants to buck you off it will easily do that. The relationship with a horse is build on respect. Horses live in a herd and have to follow a certain order. In that case you should be the leader and lead the horse to follow you. Building that leadership profile can be hard because a horse can be very intimidating. They are big, have power and can do unexpected things.
When I started off training my horse we were in a constant battle of that leadership role. He was still very young and kept pushing on these boundaries. If in that moment you can’t stay strong, you loose the connection straight away. You have to earn the respect but by doing so you will always have to be the leader. You can’t give in, you can not give up in difficult situations because that could end up being very dangerous for you.
Horses teach you a great deal about that respectful but also nicely balanced relationship between taking and giving. It’s something you don’t learn straight away but you will be able to carry over to situations in real life.
“If you do not provide the leadership, the horse will. Don’t get pushed around by a horse or your team!”
5. A horse builds life long relationships
A horse only survives in the herd and relies on the warning signs of others. Their social life is a big part of how they stay alive and communicate with each other. As humans we tend to sometimes forget that we are also social animals and need each other to survive. Nobody wants to be alone, nobody wants to loose a friend. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem that important anymore when we talk bad about somebody in our social network. Then we forget about the impact this can have on others and eventually ruin a relationship for life. A horse would never put itself first. Why do we?
6. A horse gives back
When you're doing someone a favour you sometimes expect something in return. Sometimes that works out, and sometimes not. Horses do not count on favours, they give back anyway. A relationship with a horse is unique because it values you so much that it will show it in many many ways. We often forget to say thank you because favours seem normal to us. That is very sad because it actually feels so good to say it out loud and to see the smile in somebody's face when receiving it. No matter how small the task, a horse will be thankful. Something we can learn and carry on to other areas of our life.
A horse is a great teacher!