Horses Fulfill Our Individual Values
By Kim Roe
A few years ago, I took a class aimed at helping me discover the direction I want to go in my business and personal life. The class helped me formulate a plan (a dream) and how to focus on it. I learned what’s important to me —my values — and how to keep them in my life in order to feel fulfilled and grow.
Three of my values were adventure, laughter, and learning. When I experience those things my life sings, even when the going gets hard.
My Lusitano gelding, Exodus, is a perfect horse for me. Owning him has been an adventure—from first meeting him in Brazil (and going through the craziness of importing him) to my current training dilemmas — it’s been a journey filled with a lot of laughter and learning.
Exo has been difficult in many ways; he’s sensitive and highly reactive but can also be a lazy slug. Fall leaves skittering across the arena roof cause him to leap and bolt, and yet some days asking him to canter becomes an overwhelming insult.
He’s had problems with ulcers, his feet, and saddle fit. He refuses to wear blankets and fly masks (shreds them) but he hates the cold and bugs. He destroys water troughs, tracks birds and airplanes across the sky, and took years to conquer his fear of light fixtures in the arena (sometimes those still freak him out).
Figuring out how to train him and keep him happy has stretched my abilities as a trainer and horsewoman. And all the while he makes me laugh, a lot.
It occurred to me recently that Exo is providing me with my core values: adventure, learning, and laughter. Isn’t this why we own horses? The lifestyle of horse ownership is not an easy one, but horse people feel it’s as important as oxygen. We sacrifice all kinds of comforts in order to have horses in our lives, because without them we feel lost.
The equestrian lifestyle runs deep in the blood of horse lovers. It permeates our lives and affects how we choose our home, clothes, vehicles, job, and vacations. I know I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I’ll bet you feel the same way.
Enjoy our issue this month. I hope you take the time to visit the Washington State Horse Expo and get some training tips, new tack, or whatever strikes your fancy and defines the equestrian lifestyle for you.
Kim Roe grew up riding on the family ranch and competed in Western rail classes, trail horse, reining, working cow, and hunter/jumper. She trained her first horse for money at 12 years old, starting a pony for a neighbor.
Kim has been a professional dressage instructor in Washington state for over 30 years, training hundreds of horses and students through the levels. In recent years Kim has become involved in Working Equitation and is a small ‘r’ Working Equitation judge with WE United.
Kim is the editor of the Northwest Horse Source Magazine, and also a writer, photographer, and poet. She owns and manages Blue Gate Farm in Deming, Washington where she continues to be passionate about helping horses and riders in many disciplines.