Celebrating the Late Bloomer
by Catherine Madera
In this culture there is nothing so exciting as fast success; we idolize the child wonder, the overnight sensation. We like things quick and outstanding. This is not a friendly environment for the “late bloomer.” Wikipedia defines this condition as: a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual. Famous late bloomers include artist Grandma Moses, who began painting in her 70’s, and Colonel Sanders who started the franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken in his 60’s. While early success is impressive, I’m most fascinated by the late bloomer, the one whose talents (mental or physical) are hidden until suddenly, when the time is right, they blossom.
Like people, horses can also be late bloomers. I hate to think of the many horses thrown away or ruined because nobody saw their talents or was willing to wait for them to mature. In our fast paced world we value the world champion 3-year-old, the horse recognized as outstanding from the moment it hits the ground. This is why I love stories of horses like Aurab. A stallion that left a huge mark on the Arabian breed, this legend was not recognized in the show ring until the age of 11 (Reference: http://diablovista.homestead.com/Aurab.html). Currently I own a horse related to Aurab named Diamonte. While I cannot say he is outstanding, he is most definitely a late bloomer with talents yet to be developed. When frustrated, I’ve been tempted to make long term assumptions about his future based simply on slow maturity. Then I think of Grandma Moses and Colonel Sanders; I think of horses like Aurab that found their place in history in middle age.
Development of talent—and every horse has some, in various measure—is a process. The biggest block to helping them achieve success is often tied to human impatience. This month we have a new trainer, Gerry Cox, who expands on this subject in a series called “It’s a Process, Not an Event.” I hope you enjoy it. And don’t miss learning new ways to have fun with your horse in our cover story on page 6.