Monday, July 20, 2009

are we ever really in control?

So, long time no see!

I got a little caught up in the beauty that is an Ohio summer and haven't posted anything in a while. Surprisingly, in that absence, nothing much has been going on. I have been horseback riding a few times which is amazing andwonderful and great. The horse is starting to settle down in his new barn and is creating less problems for the barn owners. He has been suprisingly good under saddle considering that I have not ridden him in years and years.

I think this shows the importance of training them well when they are young. It's not quite enough to just break them, and then hop on and hope they figure it really need to have patience and teach them all the little steps in between. My cousin in England, who I admire greatly spent 2 years working with her baby horse on the GROUND before she ever sat on her back. Without patience and proper lessons....they wont ever be fully trained! So, to whomever trained Colors before I got him...thank you thank you thank you for training him carefully and diligently so that when I finally got back on him after a 4 year hiatus...he behaves like a gentleman. Ground work and patience are very very important people!

Don't you think the same could be said for many aspects of our lives? I mean think about it. Before you enter into a have to do the groundwork first. Just like you have to teach a young horse what "whoa" means. You have to learn your partners limits and needs. Before you enter into a long term have to figure out just where you can rely on her and just how she needs to rely on you. With your children, you have to decide what rules you will have total control of and what rules are up for negotiation, you have to be able to say 'baby's ready to fly' and let go, but you have to know when it's okay to do that. With your family, you have to learn to trust them, but also to know that sometimes there are going to be rough patches that you have to forgive and learn from.

With horses, you're never fully in control. A horse doesnt submit to what you want him to do because he's totally domesticated. Watch horses in a field sometime. You'll get it, you aren't in control. They let you ride them because they want to please you, because they trust that you're not going to hurt them. Similarly, a well trained horse will look out for you on a trail ride. The lady who owns the barn I'm boarding Colors at has this horse named Baron. He is "the boss" in the field and when you're on the ground next to him, you can just sense that he is the dominant personality. He's got just a little bit of a wild streak...but when Mel rides him on the trail...she has no fear. None, at all. Even though she is terrified of heights, she will ride him on a cliff trail with a drop off on the side with no qualms because he is brave and he will take care of his rider. Similarly, he knows that she will never ask him to go anywhere that could be dangerous to either of them. He trusts her too. She has spent a lot of time developing that relationship with him.

I guess my point is...we don't control our marriages, our families, our friends, any more than we control a wild creature. They do what we ask because we have mutual respect, because we have understanding. They do what we ask because we take the time to lay down the say "this is where I won't budge, can't compromise, this is when you have to do what I need you to." We take the time to listen to them understand that perhaps they're afraid to go through that last gate, or over that last jump, and we let them face it head on, and give them reassurance that it WILL be okay, and we don't force them into it with no concern for their fears. We LISTEN to what they're saying to us, and they in turn listen to our subltest signals. When I ride Colors, I watch his ears...they're constantly swiveling back and forth to hear what's going on around him, but they also turn toward me, so that he can hear my little reassurances, my little commands. I know when he hears something scary because he'll turn his ears, then his head so he can get a better look at it. I learned to anticipate those moments and to talk him through them.

I don't think that people are so different than animals...our basic instincts are pretty much the same. We need reassurance in all aspects of our relationship. We need direction, we need to know we belong and that we can trust those we belong with. Additionally, it's a never ending process. Just because Colors seems to be doing well, doesn't mean I can just say 'it's perfect!' and quit working with him. I still need to exercise him before I ride...I still need to practice halting and backing and changing direction. We can't get complacent in our relationships with friends and loved ones....we can always challenge ourselves and eachother to grow.

So, I guess what I'm getting at is...think about your relationships, have you done the groundwork? have you earned trust? how does this make your relationships more successful? most importantly, do you have the patience to keep working on them even when they're not being the easiest "ride". Can you keep a cool head, calm hands and warm heart even when you hit the dirt? It's my goal to try that this week in all aspects of my vacation to Asheville, North Carolina looms and we all know that my family, though wonderful, does not always agree on everything and is not always very nice to eachother. Cool head, calm hands, warm hearts will prevail though...I hope!

For the record, all is well in my life ;-) Just a little self reflection and analogy in general for a Monday morning.

3 Blessings:

Simple weekends with my husband
Lunches with good friends
Unconditional love from my family

This picture is of Colors the first week that he lived at his new stable. He was standing off to the side watching the rest of the horses in the herd. You could almost read his thoughts, "I want to join....can I please? Where do I fit in????"


Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. Princess Diana

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