Horse Sense

Posted on Apr 16 2008 in From the Editor

EmilySchilling-150x150I’m writing from a chilly horse barn. I’m watching my daughter perched atop a willful, yet beautiful, horse named Tucker. They’ve spent most of an hour trotting — first in a clockwise circle, then counterclockwise. Over and over again, they travel together around the dressage barn going faster than I’ve seen them go before.

After months of Sunday afternoon lessons, my daughter and her equine friend have steadily advanced from slow-paced walks and occasional periods of stubborn inactivity (on the horse’s part) to their recent milestone: trotting.

Progress has been made! No stubborn behavior today (by either of them)!
If Bob Knight were a horse, he’d surely have Tucker’s personality. Other young riders these past few months, upon discovering Tucker was difficult to control, rode him reluctantly. They preferred taking their lessons on gentler horses who took direction more easily.

But my daughter bonded with Tucker, who ironically is, literally, the dark horse (with a stripe of white between his eyes). I don’t know why she chose him as her riding partner and she hasn’t shared her reason. But sure enough, over the past six weeks or so, he’s respecting her and minding her. I’m thinking the Starlight Mint candies she feeds him after each lesson might have something to do with it. And, of course, he’s probably feeling comfortable with her and is grateful that at least one little girl wants to ride him. But more importantly, she’s learning to control him and convince him to follow her lead.

200416776-001The fact that my daughter decided to challenge herself with the more willful horse will benefit her in so many ways. Though in situations involving any kind of work she usually will opt for the path of least resistance, this time — on horseback, no less — she took the road less traveled. Robert Frost said it will make all the difference, and I am certain it will.

That bit of wisdom is something we all need to remember. In our fast-paced lives we all take shortcuts. We look for the easiest way to do things, not always the best, and we focus less on enhancing our lives and the lives of others. These days, our roads less traveled are often never taken at all.

And that’s a shame. We need to make time to take control of the “wild horses” in our lives. We need to take the “scenic route” once in awhile and glean some wisdom from the resulting new adventures.