Horses are Windows to our Soul

by Articles, Perspective

Horses are Windows to our Soul

Have you ever heard that horses act like their owners? A common joke among farriers, especially when you’re talking about a rude or ill mannered horse!

I have been riding a horse for as long as I can remember, growing up ranching and rodeoing in western South Dakota, a love for horses is a very normal way of life.

I have a young head horse named Hot Rod, my in-laws raised him. I’ve honestly never really been a big fan of him. He has all the looks and tools but he never really behaved how I would like him to. I was roping on him one day and I asked my wife, how does he look? Jamie (aka The Voice of Reason) says “It looks like you’re riding him like you don’t like him…” I said well that makes sense because I don’t like him!

I thought to myself, how fair is that of me to expect him to improve when I have already decided I don’t like him? I then thought about all the different horses that I’ve rode in my life, I don’t think any of them truly liked me. I remember when I was in junior high my dad bought 3 colts and it was my winter job to break them. I was struggling catching them, so I told a friend about it, his advice was to catch them with grain. WHAT?!? That sounded awful, a real cowboy wouldn’t have to do that I thought.

Even the best horses I’ve owned were always a little on edge in my presence. In my mind I loved some of them, looking back I think I loved what they could do for me instead. I expected them to work like robots with no personality.

Chris Cox is a friend and client of mine, and one thing I’ve always respected about him is his love for horses. He has retired the majority of his personal horses that helped him make his career, how cool is that? Giving back to the animal that gave you so much, very classy in my book. Several years ago we were at the Fort Worth Stockyards Rodeo, just sitting on our horses waiting to rope. Chris reached into his pocket and pulls out a treat and gives it to his horse, while riding him! It was quite a mind blowing experience for me.

So while I’m thinking about how I’m going to start giving Hot Rod a better chance, I decide that I’m going to carry treats with me for praiseworthy moments. Like when I’m catching him for one! Haha

Its more than that though, I want to be a horseman, being calm in all situations and forgiving them when they make subtle mistakes. I’ve been working with Hot Rod like this for over a month and you wouldn’t recognize him, he hasn’t had a bad day yet! He is a lot more relaxed, looks forward to seeing me and is ten times the head horse he was! I was excited about our progress so I called Chris to confirm what I was thinking. Do you think its true that horses act like their owners? He said “I’ve been telling people that for 30 years!”

The majority of the money and the relationships I’ve made in my life I owe to horses in one way or another. I have decided that they deserve better and I want to be proud of what my horses say about me.

What does your horse say about you?

God Bless America

This article first appeared in the Dally Times- The Magazine for Team Ropers.

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