The new year is upon us! I think most people are looking at 2021 as an opportunity to leave behind 2020: the year that wasn’t. Others might be wondering what different challenges this new year will bring. I often find uncanny parallels between horsemanship and life, and today’s “life lesson” came straight from the horse’s mouth: How about we take it moment by moment?
Consider walking into your horse’s pen or stall to catch him and go about your regular ride, but something isn’t right. Maybe he won’t let you catch him and he’s giving you a wide-eyed look that says, “Not today, friend-o.” It’s only human nature to pinch your face together and say, “He ought to know better.”
Maybe you shoot an attitude right back and take to chasing him around the pen in a classic “if you don’t want to be caught, I’ll make you work” show of authority. Now he’s wound up, and frankly, so are you. Anyone who has ever tried to catch a horse that doesn’t want to be caught knows the feeling of irritation turning into downright anger. The next thing you know, your horse’s tail is straight in the air and he’s blowing air at you from across the pasture while you’re red in the face, still afoot, considering throwing that halter and lead rope down and calling it a day because it’s just downright irritating when things don’t go as planned, right? Sounds a lot like how the last year has gone, doesn’t it?
Let’s replay the scenario. What if you had gone the opposite direction with your attitude? What if, instead of stepping forward, you stepped back? When he walks away from you, walk away from him. When he stops, you stop. There are innumerable actions you can take that will keep both of you from getting sweaty and worked up. I owe a lot to horses. They taught me how to yield. The trouble seems to be that doing less requires more self-control from us. The truth is, there is power in yielding. This is not something that is unique to horsemanship. This resonates with me, personally, in every aspect of my work and personal life. When things get frustrating, just take a step back and dial it down, not up!
I believe if we truly stepped back and used our minds instead of our emotions to dictate our actions, we would see a lot of happiness and progress this next year. Energy is finite: best to not waste it on chasing your horse around the pen hoping he will take the high road and yield first. Take a step back before you take a step forward and see how little it takes to get the job done. QCBN
By Cheyenne Brown
Cheyenne Brown joined the Olsen’s for Healthy Animals team in August of 2020 as the marketing manager. She has been involved in community events in Northern Arizona since she moved here in 2017 from Kentucky. Previously, she worked in the equine industry and gained a passion for photographing horses, cattle and all things agriculture. Cheyenne is excited to represent Olsen’s and spread the message for how animals can enrich lives and promote better mental health.