I have mentioned in the introduction to my program that: “You will have to question yourself, your way of life, your relationship to others, the status of animals and any other living beings, your priorities in life, etc.” Let’s make things clear: I’m not a guru or a preacher. Yet, if you want to become a fair horseman, you need humility, patience and empathy.
Good horsemanship is a consequence of good thinking
You have to consider your place in this world. Do you consider yourself being at the top of the pyramid and the rest on earth being here at your disposal? Or do you consider yourself being a part of a big picture? Do you have the ability to look at your face in a mirror and ask the question: “What did I do right today? What did I do wrong? How can I improve myself?”
Those questions have, of course, direct connections with our concern: horses and horsemanship. But it goes beyond…
Way of life?
Have you ever taken the time to stop? Stop everything, sit down and think. If not, you will need to practice this too as it is a very important part of the process to become capable of analyzing your actions in general and your actions with horses. It’s pretty hard to do so when you spend your time running around from home to school to office to supermarket to school to home… A lot easier if you have organized your life to arrange hours of free time.
Relationship to others?
Are you the kind to yell at his colleagues if the work is not done correctly or to congratulate when the work is well done? Are you smiling when you meet someone new or do you look like Frankenstein’s creature? Your social behavior will also impact your approach of the horse and is generally directly connected to the above mentioned matters.
Status of animals?
There are two schools: either animals are considered as objects (working tools or pet-lover toys) or they are considered as living beings. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to become a good horseman, but I think you have to ask yourself the question of why do you eat meat? When? How often? What kind of meat? Where does it come from?
Horses are animals. They can think, they can understand and they can learn. You have to consider their status and their position compared to yours: different nature? or different level?
Priorities in life?
Is this your work, your career? Is it your car? Is it your collection stamps? Typically, my opinion is that a good horseman’s priority should be life: his, his family’s and friends’ and horses’ lives… in that order.
“[Hedonism is] an introspective attitude to life based on taking pleasure yourself and pleasuring others, without harming yourself or anyone else.” – Michel Onfray