inspired by Crissi McDonald


What if we stopped berating our past mistakes?

What if we changed the narrative and called them progress?

All of us here have travelled long and far. Not just with our horses but with our selves.

Our faults are many, our successes few, and in order to improve we beat ourselves with that large stick of past failures, in a way we would never beat our horses.

But what if every mistake, every error of judgement was merely a rung on the ladder to learning. Surely that can’t be wrong?

Perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight (which is a land where everything shines unicorn clear) we simply had that ladder against the wrong wall?

Along our Damascene Roads, many of us got more involved in techniques than proved good for our horses – or ourselves- but just like adding our own pinch-of-this –and-that to season a textbook recipe, none of us can deny sprinkling a tad of past learning on today’s actions.

I was raised on tried and tested British Horse Society principles; followed by millions, but falling short of the ‘right’ meaning for me.

However much I disagree with a lot of the teaching, I still apply basic BHS learning to every horse I encounter, every day, and my standard of horse care is just as Major Browne taught me all those years ago at Pony Club. I check water buckets and feed bowls for snot or blood. I shut the gate behind me when turning out to pasture. I thank motorists for slowing down and passing with a wide berth. Could Parelli have taught me these basics? Could I have learnt them in a round pen? So BHS wasn’t all bad.

Regret for horses bewildered by our mistakes is understandable, but can we say it won’t happen again?

To have caused anguish to those we love the most, is as big a sin as we can commit but we didn’t do it maliciously; we were doing the best we could with what we knew at that time.

Each day we take our horse’s demeanour in the present tense, so let us do the same for ourselves!
Collect all our past horse history into a large heap, and celebrate just how large it is. Look how far we’ve come, look what we’ve experienced! Look at how much we can rationally discuss, and teach others, because we WERE THERE.

Treat it all as learning. When the larger picture is blurred, see the tiny increments we made on our way to celebrating we’re still here, relatively sound and able to breathe with horses.

Because what it all comes down to is that we’ve spent a lifetime learning to breathe.

Which was right under our noses all along.

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