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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Stand in the place where you live
Now face North
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven't before...

'Stand' by R.E.M (1988).

Rowan has continued her riding lessons as the summer progresses.
I wrote about their beginning several weeks ago.
She is gaining confidence in the grooming and tacking up of the horses, and  has begun to learn to trot & post ~ today she worked on moving the horse into a trot by herself.

Each lesson brings new learning~ not only the physicality of riding or the husbandry of the animal, but about life itself.  I have long been a fan of the human-animal bond as a means of teaching, healing and personal growth.  There is something about working as a team with an animal~ an other who does not speak our language, or think as we do, but who willingly strives to meet our expectations and partner with us~ that deepens our humanity and reminds us that life is amazing in its diversity.

For my creative free flowing daughter who struggles a bit with social interactions and who had a very rough year at school in her relationships with her peers, riding is building her self esteem as well as teaching her lessons about doing things 'right' not just her own way (ie. a curry comb and a brush serve different purposes and swirling around the horse's coat with one in each hand accomplishes neither OR a horse responds to 'walk on' by walking, and does not respond to 'twinkle your toes!'). 
 Rowan is learning these lessons with the guidance of a gentle and confident coach and patient animals.
She is also learning many other lessons she will not yet  recognize... or maybe it is me doing the learning...

This Week's Life Lessons From a Horse...
1) To learn one requires challenge.
For a few weeks, Rowan has ridden Phoenix.
Phoenix is a horse who loves children (well, he loves being in charge) and who requires very little direction in his tasks.  The end result is a very proud rider who believes that they are steering the ship.  They are not.
Due to an injury, Phoenix has been replaced with Shadow for the time being.
Shadow won't do anything reckless with a rider, but he is no Phoenix.
He is a little sulky and has definite ideas about how he would like to spend his time (preferably not walking in circles).
This means that Rowan really has to use the reins, and her heels~ and in two weeks has learned far more than she did in the previous three on Phoenix.
In most cases, we learn best when we have to do it for real!

2) Take Care of Your Feet
Your feet are going to be on the ground...
Rowan *loves* cleaning hooves.  She loves it so much that her coach must keep reminding her not to sit down comfortably beneath the hoof , but rather squat to be able to move quickly if needed. 
The hooves are cleaned before and after each lesson to ensure that there are no stones or other hazards embedded in the hoof which can cause issues for the horse.
 Isn't it so true?
When your feet hurt, everything is uncomfortable.
I think this very practical lesson goes along with 'it is always worthwhile to pay for good shoe leather' as advice every one learns someday!

3) Know Where You Are Going...
Your head is there to move you around...
When riding a horse, you need to know where you want to go.
It helps to look in that direction.

If you don't know where you are going... the horse will decide.
How true, how true of life!

4) ...and Communicate it Well
Once you know where you are headed, you need to share this information.
You need to communicate it clearly and effectively.
And in the case of your animal partner, gently and kindly, but firmly.
(also applies to human partners!)


and the final lesson for this week?

5) No matter where you are going, there are some things for which you simply must stop.
This week, Rowan had Shadow walking nicely, after a few power struggles, when he suddenly stopped and refused to move. The look on her face was priceless as she realized that he was not about to move... at least not until he had finished his (rather smelly, she said) business.
There are things in life which matter more than our forward motion.
Some are mundane, others are more important.
But knowing when we need to stop, and accepting it with grace is a life lesson of great importance!
Stand in the place where you live
Now face North
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven't before
 ♥♥

2 comments:

woolies said...

Horses teach the most amazing lessons to children. I've taught many a child to ride, and watched kids grow from timid to self confident. Horses bring joy. It is their nature. That is so wonderful for Rowan. :)
(I learned to ride at about 4-5 years...still riding...) :)

Lori @ Beneath the Rowan Tree said...

Thans Sara! It is so wonderful to know that a cool grownup I admire is a life long rider (and makes sense!)!
L

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