Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finding the Jump

I have a passion. Those who know me will be able to say right away what that is-my horse.

I started riding when I was eight. I was always the smallest in the class so usually picked last for such things as dodge ball, kickball, really any team sport that required me to be athletic. I was a tom-girl. Most of my friends were boys. Days were spent climbing trees or catching crayfish with our bare hands. I liked anything that made me feel tougher than my size (welcome to my present job). So getting on my first horse was empowering! Being able to control a 1000 pound animal to jump around a course of obstacles became my drug of choice. There was no better high.

But jumping on a horse is tricky stuff. They have a brain of their own, moods, fears, needs, desires, aches and pains, good days and bad days. They don’t have the ability to tell us what is wrong (which would save a lot of vet bills).

So facing a course of eight or ten jumps can be a challenge. If you hit that first jump poorly he may not be so keen on the next one, his confidence is blown.
If you’re not finding the right striding to a jump over and over again you may have to change your pace or alter your path
If your horse finds a jump scary in one direction, jumping it as if the rails will bite him, after a few times he may relax into it. Unfortunately if you jump the same jump going the other direction he may find that jump scary all over again-like he had never seen it before.

So every time I ride I find myself amazed at how we can put all of these ideas into our life practice and often into my coaching practice.

In dealing with people around us we have to be aware they have moods, fears, needs, desires, aches and pains. We can be sensitive to how we react to others, always holding the knowledge that we never know what is going on truly in another’s life.

If we’re looking to a goal and we keep hitting the same stumbling blocks, changing our approach, slowing down out pace or redirecting our path may help to find the way over our obstacles.

And if we have something in our lives terrifying or intimidating us we try to face our fears, hitting them head on to the best of our ability until we feel more comfortable. Things may shift or new fears appear but giving ourselves a chance to get used to our strength and ability, jumping again and again until we are confident, lets us move on with our goal or resolve our conflict.

Horses are majestic, sensitive creatures. There are hundreds of stories about wild beasts suddenly calming for a disabled child or a person in need. As humans, we can find that same sensitivity, listening to each other in a way that we can see past the exterior. Understand what we each need and strive to give our best to each other.

And in return we may get a loving pat, a shiny apple, a sweet sugar cube. Or we might make connections that last the rest of our lives. All because we listen and care.

This is dedicated to my friend Kerry-who is amazing in her caring of others and her love for her friend Holly now in desperate need. <3

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