I was talking to my friend Jimmy Sharp. He was a mechanic that worked on my trucks and everything else that broke. “That’s a real nice truck you’re working on,” I said, “times must be good.” His response, “expensive trucks and fancy stuff doesn’t usually mean prosperity, it’s more likely good bankers.” For some reason, I remembered that. It goes along with, “age is no indicator of maturity” and “wisdom doesn’t come from presence.” These are interesting ideas to observe, particularly the last one when it comes to our horse life.
Some of our families had horses while we were growing up, some of us had the opportunity to ride or be with someone else’s horses, and some of us wanted to have horses when we could. Whatever your length of time on task, I can assure you that the number of hours or years being “around horses” is not equal to your proficiency. You would think it obvious when you read it, but it’s not obvious. At least many of us don’t act like we get the idea. Usually when people say things like, “I’ve been around horses my whole life” they are presenting evidence of their knowledge or justifying their thoughts or actions
with proof of their correctness as if it were the same as the results of a scientific study. Sometimes being aware of our words and intentions can be eye-opening. None of us would presume to be a brain surgeon since we had “been around” people our whole lives or believe that “being around” automobiles is enough to qualify as a master mechanic.
I’m not pointing a shameful finger if you’ve ever echoed these words or had similar thoughts. I know and recognize this concept because I said and expressed these ideas myself early on. Whether it’s these exact words or not isn’t the point. The point is that it’s easy for us to fall into bad thought patterns that move us away from being able to have the happiness and joy that is available with horses or with any aspect of our lives when we do not intentionally make the choice to continue to learn and then follow that decision with action.
Not consciously choosing to pursue excellence is a totally rational decision. The opposite requires effort, so it seems easier to do nothing. With horses, we might be in the minority as a horse owner when it comes to our total friends, family, and acquaintances. So in comparison, merely having a horse qualifies us as an expert in our circle of influence. Why would we do anything more when things are so good? We’re getting by. Our horse(s) seem to be fine and everyone we know thinks we’re Roy Rogers or Dale Evans, John Wayne or Annie Oakley. Life is good. It’s a fact. Why seek to change that? Because the limitless knowledge and experiences available with horses can provide you more meaning, more fulfillment, and ultimately more happiness and joy. That’s why it’s worth it.
In 2016 The Horsemanship Journey conducted a Nationwide survey asking horse owners what was most important in their horse experience. The overwhelming result, 82% of respondents said that “their horse being well cared for” was most important. If you are part of this group, the information and ongoing advancements in horse health alone are massive areas of study. Your knowledge has a direct impact on the health and quality of life of your horse.
Arguably, more importantly, is the fact that human beings are hard-wired for progress. The positive thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that occur when we are making progress are big and broad. They can have a tremendous impact on our daily lives. Learning is a source of self-confidence. Our self-image affects everything we do, every relationship, everything. When we are learning we not only get the benefit of what it is that we are learning but, the good feelings of bolstered confidence and all that comes with knowing and doing what requires effort and is worthwhile. It’s like giving yourself a high five or congratulating yourself for doing what you believe is right.
A recent article by Tracy Brower published in Forbes.com titled “Learning Is A Sure Path To Happiness: Science Proves It” states, “When you learn new things, you also expand your horizons and greater perspective is linked to experiences of happiness and joy… Depression is typically marked by a myopic perspective where you feel limited or trapped within your circumstances. But a broader view—of others, of the world, of circumstances and of possibilities—is correlated with greater happiness.”
In summary, being an exceptional horseman/woman rather than an average or mediocre owner that simply gets by, is going to require a conscious effort. The good news is that it’s worth it. It’s not only worth it, but it’s also necessary if you want more meaning and more happiness. Double good news bonus – the effort required is reasonably small and doable. Learning is easier, more available, and more affordable than ever before.
I suggest and recommend The Horsemanship Journey as a worthwhile component in your overall life plan and horse program. We bring you the top horse professionals in the world for less than $4/month. The show will leave you feeling empowered, informed, and inspired. In addition, The Horsemanship Journey will soon launch private training with the best trainers of our time. Whatever your level of experience and skill, your progress is paramount, and “wisdom doesn’t come from presence.”