After moving to Germany (away from my lovely horse community in California), I am the “new girl” at a barn where everyone views their horses as machines.
It’s been eye-opening. For the first time, I am at a barn where no one understands the natural way I go about working with horses.
Saturday, for example, tested my morals. I showed up (not wearing my riding boots and pants like the others were) and immediately got a rude, suspicious look from a lady leaning against a stall. I smiled… “Hello!” Trying to stay positive. The lady barely got a “Hi” out in response. As I got my ropes together, it felt as though the lady and her friend were staring – judging me. Okay, their loss. I thought. I’m sure, in another world, we could’ve traded horse tips or something – made some small talk.
Trying to forget about the ladies, I hung out with Nahja, the horse I’m working with, in the pasture for a while. At first, she seemed convinced that nothing I could do would be interesting. Within two minutes (Really. Two.), she was all mine. I was asking her to put only her right foot on a log, touch the top branch of the apple tree with her nose, go sideways over a specific lump of grass… she was hooked. I felt a smile spread across my face. Until I saw the ladies come towards us.
For a while, they leaned against the fence and glared at me. I kept my focus and asked Nahja to touch a tree with her butt by backing her up to it. Eventually they opened the gate and, after 10 minutes, were able to catch their horses and haul them out. Their horses were slaves. They didn’t even want to raise their head from eating grass to let them put a halter on.
What I was reminded of on Saturday, was to censor the images and impressions I make in my mind of people. On my way home, through the barn (never having taken Nahja out of the pasture), one of the ladies smiled at me.
“Hi, I’m Miss M. Are you working with Nahja?” She asked.
“Hello, nice to meet you. My name is Tiamat. Yeah, I am.”
“What a gorgeous name! Well, Nahja looks very happy with you.”
The thing is, I never know what they were thinking about earlier, or what is going on in their life at the moment. When we take everything personally, everything else that comes from that point on seems even worse. It all seems horrible and it can ruin any mood. From now on, instead of caring so much about what others may think about my “techniques”, I’ll just smile and continue doing what I think is right – just like I did on Saturday. Changing to fit in to a community won’t do anyone any good.
Just something to keep in mind and muse over.
May the horse be with you!