Never Stop Growing
I once read a quote from John Lyons where he said the most dangerous situations he’s been in with horses involved those that refused to go forward. I didn’t fully understand this statement until I started my first horse under saddle, a lovely Arabian gelding named Tango.
The spring day I drove to the barn for that first ride my stomach was in knots. I imagined the moment would look like an old western—cowboys galloping off and bucking broncos. Instead, Tango just stood there, looking around at my legs dangling by his sides as if to say, “How did those get there?” Though the lack of drama was a relief, after two days of mounting and dismounting an uninterested colt, I began to wonder how to get him moving. I had not considered this scenario! We eventually figured it out and he became a wonderful partner, but I learned something important in the process: It is impossible to train a horse that will not go forward. I have since learned that the most dangerous behaviors—rearing, bucking, and more—all have their roots in a lack of forward going. John was right!
Growth always goes together with “forward” and, once again, I find a lot of inspiration for living from horsemanship principles. I want to creatively evolve in all areas of my life as long as I’m alive and this means avoiding dreaded comfort zones in my personal life and with my horse. In life there is no neutral, there is forward or backward.
This month we focus on recreation and enjoyment of our horses. Learn how Raye Lochert helps riders overcome challenges and grow on page 6 and discover something new in our feature on endurance riding (my next growth opportunity, stay tuned!). There’s so much to learn and the journey of horsemanship should be inspiring.
Published May 2013 Issue
Catherine Madera served as editor of the Northwest Horse Source for five years. She has written for numerous regional and national publications and is a contributing writer for Guideposts Magazine and the author of four equine-related books. She has two grown children and lives with her husband and three horses in Northwest Washington.