Children, teens and adults who are around horses will learn compassion. They know that we must take special care of the very young and the very old. We must make sure those without voices to speak of their pain are still cared for.
Because those with horses will learn responsibility for others than themselves. They learn that regardless of the weather you must still care for those you have the stewardship of. There are no days off just because you don’t feel like being around horses that day. They learn that for every hour of fun they have there are days of hard slogging work you must do first.
Those with horses learn not to be afraid of getting dirty and that appearances don’t matter to most of the breathing things in the world we live in. Horses do not care about designer clothes, jewelry, pretty hairdos or anything else we put on our bodies to try to impress others. What a horse cares about are your abilities to work within his natural world, he doesn’t care if you’re wearing $80.00 jeans while you do it.
Those who work with horses learn about intimate relations and how it can both enrich and complicate lives. They learn that it only takes one time to produce a baby, and the only way to ensure babies aren’t produced is not to breed. They learn how babies are planned, made, born and, sadly, sometimes die before reaching their potential. They learn how sleepless nights and trying to out-smart a crafty old broodmare could result in getting to see, as non-horse people rarely do, the birth of a true miracle.
Horse people understand the value of money. Every dollar can be translated into bales of hay, bags of feed or farrier visits. Purchasing non-necessities during lean times can mean the difference between feed and good care, or neglect and starvation. They learn to judge the level of their care against the care they provide to others and to make sure their standards never lower, and only increase as their knowledge grows.
Horse people learn to learn on their own. They have teachers that cannot speak, nor write, nor communicate beyond body language and reactions. They have to learn to “read” their surroundings for both safe and unsafe objects, to look for hazards where others might only see a pretty meadow. They learn to judge people as they judge horses. They look beyond appearances and trappings to see what is within.
Horse people learn sportsmanship to a high degree. Everyone that competes fairly is a winner. Trophies and ribbons may prove someone a winner, but they do not prove someone is a horseman. They also learn that some people will do anything to win, regardless of who it hurts. They know that those who will cheat in the show ring will also cheat in every other aspect of their life and are not to be trusted.
Horses teach self-esteem and an engaging personality. Horse people can talk to anyone they meet with confidence, because they have to express themselves to their horses with more than words. They know the satisfaction of controlling and teaching a 1000 pound animal that will yield willingly to their gentle touch and ignore the more forceful and inept handling of those stronger than they are. They hold themselves with poise and professionalism in the company of those far older than themselves.
Horse people learn to plan ahead. They know that choices made today can affect what happens five years down the road. They know that you cannot care for and protect your investments without savings to fall back on. They know the value of land and buildings. And that caring for your vehicle can mean the difference between easy travel or being stranded on the side of the road with a four horse trailer on a hot day.
We wish that all had the same opportunities to learn these lessons from horses before setting out on the road to life.
God It Made Ranch jan white