On Being a Lifelong Student
by Catherine Madera
There was a time when I thought becoming a horseman was like getting a degree. After assimilating enough information, I’d arrive at a point of proficiency. Whatever that means. Instead, over the years I’ve discovered, with each new horse, how much I still need to know. Like life itself, horsemanship is a journey and you never “arrive.” If we are open to it, working with horses has a way of spotlighting weaknesses and inviting personal growth. This is their amazing gift to us.
So far, I have probably learned the most about training from a difficult and neglected pinto that came to live with me several years ago. He represented many “firsts” in my life with horses: First stallion ( gelded), first older start under saddle (at age 7), first aggressive horse. Sadly, he was also my first horse with neurological problems and after four years we put him down. I still think of Chance and am thankful for the lessons he taught me (see nwhorsesource.com, December 2008 for his story).
Very recently I adopted a 3-year-old BLM mustang I am calling Mateo. It is Spanish for Matthew (“gift from God”). I believe all horses are a gift from God and I know I will be on a learning curve with Mateo, once again.
This month we focus on learning opportunities. It’s an extra special issue for me. First, our cover story highlights the wonderful combination of Oregon youth and yearling mustangs. Also, my gifted friend Leigh Shambo shares about the growing field of equine facilitated therapies. Lastly, senior horse essay contest is coming up. We’d love to know how horses have helped you to grow. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published August 2013 Issue