Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Taming the Fox

"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . ." 
                                                                                  --- The Little Prince

I have so many things rolling around inside my head tonight that I am having a hard time putting them into perspective. We are currently looking at a Bison 2-horse, slant-load trailer with Living Quarters and finagling how we could swing the payment. A horse trailer with LQ is almost a necessity if I want to try an endurance race or a competitive trail ride, since we have no way to pull both a horse trailer and our pop-up at the same time. We also need a horse trailer if I am going to spend lots of time riding trails around the area, without worrying about using N's trailer when she might need it. I still really want to camp in Wyoming with Ashke, and a trailer is the first step in meeting that goal. Finally, if I want to show in WE I need to be able to go to those shows and nobody I currently know is interested in doing those type of shows, so I need to be able to go by myself. Basically, I need a trailer. J is good with that, but I have to get right with it, first.

The need for a trailer ties back into finding some purpose for my riding with Ashke. That is another bundle of angst in and of itself and not really something I am ready to delve into at this point. We will save that conversation for a moment when I don't feel like crying. So, onto something that has been bothering me for a while.

I think that we some times take for granted the grace and presence a horse brings to our lives. I try to be cognizant of the honor Ashke does me every time I take him out and work with him. I recognize that we can become co-beings, but the effort has to come from both of us. Although at times I have believed I am not worthy of him, I have never felt that way about him not being worthy of me. I know, with every fiber of my being that having him is a gift: a gift of the universe and a gift from him.

There is a woman I know that has had five horses in three years. Five. All of them are flawed in some way and needed to be replaced immediately. All of them were expected to become perfect dressage horses through the training and riding of her trainer, with minimum effort on her part. She treats her horses like they are pets, with minimal boundries (something the trainer is expected to provide to the horse), lots of treat feeding and minimal grooming. She wants a horse she can ride a couple of times a week, that behaves with flawless perfection so she can show it off in the local dressage shows. She lays out a ton of money for a beautiful, high spirited horse, then laments her way into selling it again four to seven months down the road, because it acts like a horse.

She doesn't want to put the work in.

Every one I know who has a real connection to their horse has put the work in. N purchased Cali at the age of about a year and for three years, worked with her from the ground only. Four or five times a week. Groomed and walked and ground work and round pen work. Three years worth to get their relationship to the point where she and Cali have a tight connection. I spent every day with Ashke for the first eight months and then five days a week for the past year and four months. I groomed him for the first two months, handled his feet, brushed his mane and tail, wandered around and let him graze. I learned who he was and let him learn who I am. We have a connection because I put the time in. Every day.

Not only that, but I retaught myself to ride by doing it five times a week as much as I could. I thought about how I could be better. I dreamed myself being better. I looked to make our riding better because I recognize that it is my responsibility to make our interaction better, more. The times when I have thought about giving up, it's because I felt I was failing to bring to the table what Ashke needed from me. I used a trainer to make me better, not with the expectation that the trainer would magically make my horse perfect. 

I listened to Ashke. I consistently provided boundries and got after him when he wanted to be a bully. I gave him a break when he needed one, and got after him when he didn't. Just like with any relationship, we have rules and we try to follow them. 

Now a fifth horse is up for sale. I really hope she buys a horse calendar with her money so she can have a new horse every month, rather than follow this path a sixth time.

1 comment:

  1. I've always loved that quote from The Little Prince. I have it copied in one of my notebooks.

    Sounds like she wants a robot, not a horse. :( Maybe she should be leasing someone's upper level horse that that someone else has the relationship with and she just gets to ride. Relationships take time, dedication, communication and commitment, including the relationships with our horses.