People ask me all the time what connects girls to horses. After 25 years of searching, the answer is simple; trust.
To everyone who helped make Saturday happen, my most sincere thank you. For those of you who put up with me all week, I don’t know how you did it.
Here’s photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/joelldunlap/JGIRideAndDinner100607?authkey=tFQgDCJoVbI
As I sit quietly at the computer, my body is at rest and I’m doing my best with some housekeeping of my brain.
I’m tempted to write a story, an essay something about my recent experience meeting the great, the mighty, the humble and the brilliant Jane Goodall.
It’s what I should do. It’s what my training as a writer tells me to do. It’s a story that could sell, or at least gain attention.
But if I’ve learned one thing in listening to Dr. Goodall, it’s that doing what you are trained to do is not as productive as you might think. It’s not even that creative and it won’t break down the walls of society or the walls in your head. At least, that’s what I heard when I listened to this amazing and accomplished woman. She seems to feel that thinking outside the box is just exactly that. OUTSIDE the box. Where there are no rules, nor are there any boundaries or guarantees.
It’s a wonderful and terrifying and exciting place, this space outside of the box.
So off I go into the void, fumbling towards who knows what. Letting my passion and my curiosity be my guide. What comes out might be brilliant, it might be drivel, but at least it’s mine.
I feel like railing against the education establishment yet again, but it seems misplaced. Somehow, by growing Square Pegs and starting a groundswell movement where children are taking responsibility, cultivating kindness, using creativity and feeling at home in their own bodies, then maybe the next generation is empowered to start solving the problems that we have created. This is my talent, this is my task.
I think this is Dr. Jane’s thinking and it’s what keeps her hopeful in spite of all that she has seen and all that she knows. That the hope is in the children. That adults are not very trainable. That kindness to the animals and our planet inspires the younger generation to become invested in their future.
So, now with a few cobwebs cleared in my murky, aging brain, I now feel like my path is more clear. That I can’t afford to get bogged down with the minutiae of the operation. By the small-mindedness of some people and the way they treat their children or their animals. My job is to care for the animals that are here now and to the best of my ability and to inspire the children to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams, to do what is right.
Thank you Lady Jane.
Is it trust then that causes you to wrap your tiny hand around the gnarled cotton rope and breathlessly tug as you walk away assuming that 1000 lbs of pure flesh and bone will follow you quietly? Is it delusion? Or arrogance? It doesn’t really matter because the 1000 lbs at the end of the rope is looking at you trustingly as he follows you. No matter who you are, you know that this is amazing.
From Carol Beardon of Poplar Place Stables:
“Horsemanship is an art. It is the art of being able to finesse the horse to willing do what you ask him/her to do. It is an art to think like a horse, and therefore understand them.”
From Jeanne Bush, CPHA, CSHA, ApHC
Echos End Ranch
Horsemanship Instruction for all Ages
True Horsemanship is both an art and a science. The art involves the wonderful dance we do each and every time we ride; the science involves what we need to know about the physical horse.
Written by Marta B:
Horsemanship is the art falling off with style coupled with using what
remains of your good sense to apply body-salvaging pharmaceutical science.
Written by Amy 7th grade:
It’s both, because of this:
You have to know math in order to keep a horse, otherwise, financially you
would be broke, but spiritually, it is an art. You must feel the spiritual
bond of the horse, otherwise you will never enjoy the beauty of riding and
becoming one. You and the horse are a bond, a team, a herd. What some people
don’t get is that a horse is much more then an animal. (But animals are
beautiful and important people already aren’t they?)
Horses help people feel like they can do anything, people feel power when
they are with horses. But also what some people get confused with is that
horses are big animals, so they need to be controlled, show no mercy toward
That’s sounds pretty stupid if you think about it. Horses are loving gentle
giants that are teaching people how to be disoplined and resourceful. (In my
case, horses are what get me outdoors.)
Horsemanship, you must think about the business, about also the horses. What
is your education on mathematics and spirituality on these powerful,
That is what I think.
So I was reading the other night and the thought occurred to me; “is horsemanship an art? is it a science?” Certainly, Horsemanship has elements of both. But I realized that how I might approach a student to teach them might have a lot to do with how the student might answer the question, not how I would. That said, I’m posing the question to you, our supporters, horsemen, students and the community at large. How do you answer the question?
The subject has come up lately about bringing in new horses and selling others. I’ve been faced with students, parents and supporters who feel like this reduces our horses to commodities to be bought sold or traded at will. It seems like time to debunk this train of thought.
First, for every horse for whom we find a wonderful home, we are able to receive, rescue, care for another soul. The number of horses in America who end up at slaughterhouses is staggering. This year, the number of horses sent to slaughter in the US and Canada is expected to be 100,000. The work we do at Square Pegs is committed to be “one horse, one student at a time.” This is important work to us here.
Currently, with staff (that’s me) and volunteers at this level, the 9 horses we are caring for today is about all we can handle. This means that each horse is cared for, groomed, vaccinated, has regular vet and hoof care, special diets and exercise and lesson plans appropriate to their mental and physical needs are attended to. If you have spent any time at the barn, you know that there is ALWAYS work to be done. During the short days of winter, darkness seems to fall about 20 minutes too soon. Our board bill would make you cry. And our board just recently went up!