There is one sure way guaranteed to lift my spirits. I walk out to where my horses are hanging around- quietly grazing, snoozing or playing together and sit down to watch them from there on the ground.
I am from the North where Southerns often accuse us of being rude. I am one of those Southern Yankees. I was always in the mindset that I was wasting time – mine and theirs – if I didn’t just get down to business with someone. I thought it was unprofessional to chit chat before I told them why I called or why I was there. I would get so impatient when I had an agenda and they wanted to make small talk. It just seemed so inefficient. Finally, I realized the value of establishing a relationship with anyone I interacted with. I get better service, loyalty, favors granted, make better friends, help is offered willingly, etc. What was I thinking? This is a way better way to go through life. Take a little time to make someone feel special and let them know that you care enough to see how things are going with them before putting in a request. Okay, if that truth is so simple, why do we not do the same with our horses ? So many of us go get our horses with an agenda all planned out – our agenda, not the horses. We don’t stop to give them a few minutes of just saying hello and let them know you are glad to see them before we start taking over. We slap a halter on them, lead them to the ties, groom them, saddle them up, climb up and expect them to take good care of us without so much as a “How are you doing today?”
Although I love to be near my horses and spend hours at the barn, it is rare that I am not there for some other reason than just hanging out for awhile without trying to get something done. It took somebody to actually teach me the importance of creating a personal bond with my horse for me to realize the difference it makes. We all go under the premise that a horse wants and needs the human to be the leader. That is true to an extent. A horse really wants to feel safe and will gladly submit to a leader he trusts. We cannot gain that trust by demanding it. We need to earn it by showing him that we are his friend first. Try spending some time alone with your horse with no distractions and no agenda. Take off all the ropes and halters. Make just for them. See how long it takes before they stop looking for other herd members and turn to you. It will give you a pretty good idea what your horse thinks of you.