Toddlers and Horses
It’s been said that good horsemanship is the art of mastering not the horse, but your own body and mind.
In my younger training days, I could get a little dogmatic or judge mental about people’s struggle to be patient with horses – ugly emotions coming out at the trailer or in a ride were hard for me to understand sometimes. I don’t pretend to be perfect by any stretch, I just do this for a job and have a lot of practice at being patient because it works out great for me to be patient (ie not getting bucked off, etc).
When my daughter was born, things got a lot messier. My husband worked and I was riding 6-8 horses a day with an infant and two dogs. I was sleep deprived, the dogs were hyper because they weren’t getting as much attention and exercise as they were used to pre baby, and I suddenly found myself understanding how someone could be less patient.
Being tossed into a world of torturous sleep deprivation, poor eating habits that accompany just getting by, unwanted parenting advice and rude comments from strangers – on top of the already sensitive world of riding –
It was a lot.
Every baby phase has its wonderful parts, and parts you hope will pass soon. Josie is a toddler now, almost two. She’s strong, vibrant, beautiful, and testing boundaries. There are no’s that are absolutely essential to her safety (don’t touch the electric fence) and no’s that are really sometimes a battle best avoided.
I love riding, and I love my daughter. And I’m incredibly grateful for so many opportunities in my life to practice being mindful, being patient, being empathetic, and being aware. I’ll take all the help I can get, even if it is Patience Bootcamp, run by a tiny, but adorable, dictator and all her four legged friends.