Easter, the blizzard of last week, warmer weather, and greening pastures made me think about how we often travel through some pretty rough times to get to the good stuff. Mothers, especially new mothers like our daughter, Liz, live through some pretty painful, tiring times to experience the joy of a new child. In both animal and crop agriculture we go through periods of time where we wonder just how we’re going to make it through. Calving, foaling, or lambing in cold, wet, muddy or frozen conditions for weeks takes its toll on both mind and body. But, the 2 A.M. checks, the confused heifer, the frozen gate latch, the snow drifts, and the mud soon give way to young livestock bouncing across green pastures to full stock ponds. Nature keeps us humble and mindful of the processes that must be honored to come out the other side of rough patches with good results.
In our world of modern convenience it’s often easy to forget how honest and sometimes brutal the natural world is. Our forefathers worked hard to mitigate the trials that they endured. They wanted life for their children and grandchildren to be better. I appreciate their efforts. Especially after living through a short power outage in a house that is 100 percent reliant on electricity. For those of us who attempt to walk between the modern and the natural, we are challenged to put aside the easy and instant for the difficult and sometimes slow processes that crops and livestock present.
In a lesson this past week, I overheard Amy admonish her student to “be present” and “in the moment” with her horse. That can be very difficult. We have so many demands on our time, attention, and thoughts. But, in the sometimes unforgiving world of horses, to not be fully aware of what’s going on with your horse and the situation you both are in, is dangerous. We have heard people say that, “all of a sudden for no reason at all, my horse jumped out from under me”. To the rider, that’s the way it happened! To the horse, it may be more like, “I told him I wasn’t sure about that rock but, he wouldn’t listen….I don’t know where his mind was but, it sure wasn’t on supporting me….I didn’t know what else to do!”
Because horse people find themselves bridging the gap between their modern, complicated world and the simple, natural world of their horse, they will find themselves going through some growing pains. We look at these pains as opportunities to learn from our horse. We cannot overlay the complicated, agenda laden, human-to-human relationship rules on our relationship with our horse. It’s not that hard! Our horses need us to be “all in” during our time with them. We should expect the same from them. Once we develop that intention, the blizzards and other storms become less frequent. We slog through the snow and mud a little less. We enjoy the sunshine and good warm rain a little more. So, don’t dread the storms you travel through with your horse. Be there with them and for them. When you do that, you’ll surely ride some pretty green pastures too!