Horses are one of the world's most beautiful and majestic creatures, and they can also teach a lot about life. Following are 10 important lessons that can be learned from these equine friends.
1. Come with a treat. Is there a better way to gain a friend than to welcome them with a treat? Apples, sugar cubes, and molasses are beloved by horses, but human beings can also exchange "sweetness" with friends and strangers they meet at the barn or anywhere else. By the way, if you give a horse a treat, make sure your hand is completely open so they can eat off your palm and not mistake fingers for carrots.
2. Respect boundaries. When you get too close to a horse without him knowing, you might spook him and end up meeting the bottom of a rear hoof. Good cowboys (and cowgirls) respect each other's boundaries. Crossing those personal lines shows disrespect and hinders the successful building of relationships -- with either horses or people. Horses will tell you to pay attention to body language as one way to know if you're crossing boundaries. If a horse pins its ears back to its neck, you are too close and need to back up. It's true that humans can wiggle their ears, but that's about it. Even so, a person's body language can also tell you something about how they're feeling without words.
3. Keep your feet clean. Don't forget to wash between your toes. With age, you may find it harder to reach those digital phalanges, but try getting some suds between them to avoid stinky feet! The same is true for horses. The inside of each hoof contains V-shaped cartilage that can clog up with dirt and manure. The junk left inside might lead to a condition known as "thrush." By the way... did you know that that V-shaped cartilage is called a "frog"?
4. Watch the tangles. Horses love their tails for a variety of reasons. For instance, they make great fly swatters. You should never comb a horse's tail from top to bottom because, if you do, you will merely rip the hairs from the dock and leave them thin, frail, and broken. Instead, start at the bottom and work your way upward. This approach works well on long-haired children too. If you start at the top and pull the comb downward, tangles will result in tears and screaming munchkins. Horses will be happy to keep their natural fly swatters, and long-haired children will appreciate the benefit as well. A little bit of conditioner helps the horse's tail, as well as long-haired horse-crazy kids.
5. Eat Healthy. You won't find horses eating fried food or drinking soda. The spectacular health of horses would suffer if they did. Horses, on the other hand, consume a lot of roughage, including hay, grass, and grains. Of course, they enjoy a special treat every now and then, but their diets are carefully designed to support proper digestion. We also should pay careful attention to our diets. Eat lots of green, leafy roughage to your heart's content, fill your bellies with good food, and don't overdo it with the desserts.
6. It's not the blue ribbon that makes you the best. Sometimes, first place simply means you got lucky. Celebrate your success, but don't let the accolades get to your head. In any sport, a champion is someone who consistently gives their best effort to the pursuits that are meaningful to them. If you have commitment, good sportsmanship, training, and extraordinary dedication, you can win many first-place awards. However, remember that having good people in your life is more important than a ribbon. Strive to succeed, but do not forget to cherish your relationships so that you can celebrate your victories with loved ones.
7. Get out and run. A horse doesn't like to spend long hours in his stall each day. Aside from grooming and training, they need time to go beyond the riding arena, jumping fences, and dressage markers, to stretch, gallop, and roll in the mud. It's essential that you get out of the house, office, or workplace to have fun, too. Take a walk along Main Street, go for a bike ride, or go for a run on a regular basis. Move freely while taking in some fresh air and recreation. It's a healthy habit for both you and your horsey friends.
8. Drink lots of clean, cool water. Even though this might seem obvious, most of us don't drink nearly as much water as we should. Horses need a lot of water to keep their insides functioning properly, and you should, too. Drinking eight cups of water a day will also help curb your cravings for too many sweets. In the event that you consume too many sugar cubes, you will not be able to fit into your britches for very long before you need to change sizes. The first step to maintaining a healthy diet and a good digestive system is to drink plenty of water every day.
9. Live in the moment. A horse is not overly concerned about many things. They don't look ahead and worry about life and what the future holds. Rather, they live in the present moment and solve problems as they arise. Other than that, they just want to eat, sleep, run, have fun, and be comfortable. Horses can teach us a lot about not worrying about more than we need to. We will handle the obstacles that come with grace and confidence.
10. Horses have feelings, emotions, good and bad days. This is what makes any sport involving horses unique and different. Unlike swinging a bat or wearing a pair of skis, working with these social animals reminds us about the value of relationships. With a little patience, encouragement, and looking out for one another's best interests, we can find ourselves on track for a blessed and joy-filled life.
Horses have brought much joy to the world. In ancient times, they were partners in battle. They even pulled fire trucks to blazing buildings before combustion engines took over the job. Even if you don't live on a farm or take riding lessons, horses have a lot to teach the world about life.