Life is a journey…
Hopefully everyone gets the chance to have a passion, to have passion for something you can’t live without. No matter the passion, the journey to fulfilling that passion is lifelong and never ending. There is no such thing as perfection, therefore, whatever we seek to be great at, will require us to commit our lifetime to it.
Horsemanship is my passion, its the reason I get up and work hard everyday. My journey of horsemanship has been an ever evolving daily practice of being better than the person I was yesterday. It’s a journey that starts for one reason and continues for another. I was once a horse crazy little girl who loved horses and… oh wait, that hasn’t changed. lol.
I really feel that we must start with the big picture in mind and we must act on creating the big picture first. What I mean by that is we have to start somewhere and we have to get in the trenches in order to truly learn how to master a skill. Going after the big picture all at once usually means you’ll skip a whole lot of things in the process. You’ll be fixated so much on the end result that you’ll skip the signs that lead you to failures. Failures are vital in learning how to master your craft. The start of the journey means you are in a hurry to get to the destination.
In the process of hurrying up, you’ll make lots of mistakes, you’ll hit the walls, hit the ground, and ultimately hit your limits but you’ll also learn how to do the mechanical things that lead you to the big picture. In your pursuit to hit the end goal, you’ll hit a wall. You’ll hit the metaphorical wall where you see the end of the rainbow but you just can’t get to it, something is holding you back. This is the pivotal point. This is the point where we are made or broken.
Those who truly wish to capture the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow realize that the pot of gold is just a figure of our imagination at the end of a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky. Rainbows can’t be caught, they continue to move as we get closer and closer. Our end goal does the very same thing… as we get closer, it keeps moving further and further. When you understand this phenomenon, you’ll either quit because its impossible to catch the rainbow or you continue to pursue something you’ll never catch but hope to find beautiful paths in the process. Horsemanship for me will never be mastered, it’ll never be captured, but MAN do I love the paths it puts me on.
The openness to learn new skills or growth in our persona is like chasing the rainbow we never will catch. We will discover new possibilities, new terrain, new friends and most of all, we discover ourselves. When we close our minds, we basically stop chasing the rainbow. We accept that what we see right now is as good as its going to get. We continue to do the same old things out of tradition because the rainbows will always show themselves but the pot of gold is just a figment of fairy tales.
So what does this all mean? I truly believe that the journey to becoming good with horses starts with getting in there and just starting to do something. Its usually rough, chaotic, full of resistance, problems, accidents, but at the end of the day, its the struggles that either fuel us to keep going, or we quit and pursue something easier. Once you get past the ugly stages, you come out the other side with some skills. You can physically accomplish a lot with the horses but maybe you start to see that its not as smooth or fluid as it could be. From here, you dive into your own education. You start to learn how to control yourself in order to get the fluidity and smoothness from your horse. This chapter takes quite some time and practice and requires you to dig deep and bring your weaknesses to the surface. I’m assuming after this point, is the practice of partnership between you and the horse, the dance. I’ll let you know when I get there and if my assumptions were true…
When I look at people who are truly great with horses, you see the smoothness, fluidity and partnership between them and the horse. I’d say that would be my pot of gold, but I would have to advise myself that there is much more after this final stage. My advice to my younger self would be to keep going and keep doing what you are doing because it taking you down your path. All the horses I messed up or fought with helped to teach me how to work with the next one better. My advice to anyone wanting to be good with horses… just keep going, keep seeking out the rainbows, keep learning, keep messing up and most importantly, don’t give up when things get tough. Usually right around the corner from something that seems will never improve, is a breakthrough.
Your journey is yours and yours alone. Trust your gut and go down the path the way you feel good about. There will always be people who tell you differently, or don’t support the path you are on but they are just giving you directions based on the road they are on. Life is a journey and only you hold the map!