While I was driving on the Oxford Road today I had to come to a sudden stop to avoid hitting three deer crossing the roadway. As I waited for them to cross and make sure there were no more to follow them, I took in my surroundings. I watched the three deer make it safely to the other side of the road and two of the deer trotted around the fence that encloses a field while the third deer jumped the fence as pretty as any horse every has. It is a four board fence line and about four feet high. It always amazes me at their ability to jump from almost a standstill. Watching the deer run and jump got me to thinking about horses and how much they have shaped my life.
From a small child I was entranced with horses and ponies. I started riding at age ten and quickly became a sponge for any knowledge I could get my hands on about horses. I started out riding once a week but once I got my drivers license I was at the barn much more. I knew enough that we could not afford a horse but I rode any horse at the barn that anyone would let me. I exercised school horses, warmed up horses in training for the trainers, cleaned stalls, fed the horses, cleaned tack or just hung out watching them. I started studying dressage and competing in low level eventing. I have a passion for dressage. I went to college and received my degree in Animal Science specializing with horses.
It was with horses I learned how to handle myself quietly but confidently. And many horses taught me many lessons. I learned to trust my horse to get me home when I got lost on a trail ride. My mare took a route that humans would not have taken but she got me home. I learned to listen to animals and what they have to say. Many times dogs will let me know what kind of people are approaching or coming into my home. My dogs saved me from many bad relationships-if my dog does not like you then hit the road.
Horses taught me to trust people and the herd. You can’t always do everything on your own. Know your limits. Know who the boss is and test the boundaries every so often. Horses frighten many people but I enjoy being around them. I love to ride. To be accepted by them is an honor.
I have learned lessons from dogs, cats, goats, sheep and chickens too but horses got me started.