I heard Pat Parelli say this once on one of his shows quite a while ago. Yay for horse TV! I am not sure if he originally said that or if he was quoting someone else, but man, the thought of that really resonated with me at the time. I opened up my phone, wrote it down in my ‘notes,’ and went about my business. I see it whenever I scroll through my ‘notes’ and it puts a smile on my face.
When I bred my mare, Cheetah (cute, I know), I did quite a bit more reading, watching, listening, and learning than my normal to prepare myself for the foal’s arrival. I wanted to make sure that I did right by this new foal for the both of us. I have experience with all kinds and ages of horses except newborn. This was the first time for both me and Cheetah. I was not really worried (besides about the associated possible risk with breeding), but I wanted to make sure that I knew as much as possible from as many people as possible and had as open a mind as possible. As in life, the right mindset and attitude are critical for success in working with all horses. This is why I love this quote.
“Put your heart in your hand and rub your horse with it.”
It is almost like a mantra. It may not have your typical strong active verbs in it, but that is one of the things I love most about it. In my experience, both horses and people respond best to confidence found in quiet and gentle spirits led with love. After Lito was born, I would often read or think about this quote before I would work with him (there are others, but those are stories for other days). I wanted to have the right mindset and attitude to be able to allow the right things to happen (Side note, I love the word allow. Think about allowing things to happen in your life).
I know you are probably thinking that I am the corniest person, and OK, you might be right. Honestly though, I actually FELT the meaning of that saying the first time I sat upright and astride Lito. Yes, I prepared him both gradually and well for being mounted, but I had never been the first person to sit on an unridden horse before.
I had been working with him on the lunge focusing on our transitions and rhythm. We were about finished with the session and I felt like it was the right moment to take the next step in his ridden training. I almost immediately got nervous, but the voice inside me quieted my spirit. I gave him a hug around his neck. We were chest to chest so I could feel my heart against him. I told him that my heart was his and that I trusted him. I could say that I do not know where that came from, but it sure felt like a Holy Spirit AHA moment.
I clambered my way up to his 16hh+, 3 yo back, slowly dropped my legs, and sat upright. It was the most exhilarating feeling and I was overcome with LOVE! Seriously, that is the only way I can describe it. He was standing tall, proud, and confident. Not at all worried. I leaned over and wrapped my arms around his neck, said thank you, and pet him with my heart. Or at least it felt that way.
Major dad fail for not capturing the moment with a photo! If I had noticed him watching, I would have asked him to document it.
What are your mantra sayings for horsemanship and/or life?
Lead with love.