I won’t lie-I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about horses. Downright cocky in fact. I’d owned and ridden horses for 20 years and read absolutely everything I could possibly get my hands on. Tried out a great deal of it and, in my arrogance, thought I was pretty good at it.
- Then along came an invitation to go see a fellow do a demo on horsemanship nearby. He was from California at the time and rode a pretty little black Quarter mare. He started doing a bunch of things in that arena that I had never seen done with a horse. Then he worked with some horses some people had brought in-and problems just disappeared. Didn’t use all the whips, bits, and straps that I knew about. Instead there was a simple rope halter and a 12 foot lead.
He brought a black stallion into Ithe arena that he’d just gotten out of Canada. Said he’d been told the horse could buck-and the horse really put on a show doing exactly that. The man said that there once was a time when he would have ridden that horse bucking like that, but now he did things differently. He told the story of the horse-and why he had trust issues. Then he started working with him.
I still thought there had to be some sort of funny business going on. A year or so later, I got an invitation to another event of this man’s but up in North Carolina. The invitation was an email and I wrote back for some reason or other telling the person that I didn’t believe this stuff and that it had to be phony. She wrote back-and offered me free tickets if I’d just go. Since this was a two day all day thing, and I could take a friend, oh, heck why not?
Best thing I ever did-for several reasons.
- I got a huge heaping dose of humility. (The most dangerous person in the world is the one who thinks they know it all-and they know not what they don’t know. Run from them.)
- I met Natural Horsemanship head on-and found out that my knowledge base had huge gaping holes in it.
- I met Pat and Linda Parelli. (Didn’t make an impression on them, but they did me.)
- I learned about Stolen Horse International from Debi Metcalfe-who is now a friend, too!
- I learned that taking the time that it takes takes less time.
- I learned that the horse is never wrong-you asked the wrong question.
- and there was much more.
I’ll never learn everything-I know that now. I’m grateful for that lesson. But I will confess to one thing-now when I see the things that I bought and used on my horses hanging in my tack room, I hang my head in shame and apologize to my horses. I will never do those things again.