Doing it Your Horse’s Way


  • Do you know what your horse really enjoys doing? What is he passionate about?
  • Have you thought about doing it your horse’s way, just for a little while?

Let me explain what I mean by that…

This past week I went to visit family in California for the holidays. It was so great visiting with everyone. Laughter and quality time spent with family was both uplifting and therapeutic. Relaxing and rejuvenating.

I spent time with my father going over old pictures of the entire family from when we were kids up through our 30’s. He had put them all on DVD’s. It took us days to go through all the pictures. Some of the pictures I remembered and others I had never seen before.

It was great talking about old times, laughing over old memories, and looking at pictures of people we’ve lost but still remember fondly.

What was interesting to me, was that you could see a pattern in each child’s photos as we grew up. A pattern that started in childhood and continued through to adulthood.

You could see how each child’s passion developed, starting as a child.

For example:

1. My youngest brother, Brian, used to play cowboys and Indians with his friends. He was usually the cowboy because he enjoyed wearing a gun, a holster, and a cowboy hat. He loved guns.

Kind of like Ralphie in the movie “The Christmas Story” who wanted that Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas and had to get to Santa to tell him. It was a big deal to Ralphie because it was his dream to get this gun for Christmas.

Well, Brian with his love of guns grew up to become a policeman. He then worked for L.A. SWAT and later became a prosecutor for the City of San Diego. He loved being a “lawman”. Just like when he played cowboys and Indians as a child.

2. The next younger brother, Erick, had tons of pictures with a camera in his hands when he was a child. Then later as a teenager he always had a video camera around his neck or in his hands. He loved to make movies and take videos of everything.

He is and always was a very creative, thoughtful, kind gentleman. He has a heart of gold and he loved producing memories for the family through videos.

Well, he went to USC Film School in L.A., worked at HBO and Pixar, then worked on films for Lego in Canada, and is now a Professor at USC teaching film. He is doing what he has been passionate about all his life.

3. And then there is me. I got my first horse at 5 years old and have been obsessed with them ever since. I love them. They are my heart and soul. Most of my childhood pictures were with a horse.

And if the pictures didn’t have horses with me, they were me in front of a book or a computer doing research. Another thing that I love to do. And now I’m teaching people how to train their horses at liberty online.

It was so clear looking back at the old pictures and seeing the patterns of how all three of us are now doing what we have been passionate about all our lives.

Then I started thinking about all the horses I have had the blessing of owning. They all had things that they were passionate about too.

For Example:

1. When I first met Jazz, I was hired to train him in Dressage. After a while, he did exactly what I wanted but he did it with a bit of an attitude, begrudgingly. He obviously didn’t enjoy Dressage. But he did it to please me.

But when I tried something that I wasn’t familiar with to see what he liked, I found that he loved team penning and barrel racing. So, I then learned how to do these with him.

You could see his passion for these things and how much fun he was having doing them. I enjoyed them because he enjoyed them. And I loved seeing his enthusiasm and joy.

2. I thought that since Apollo was Jazz’s son that he would like the same thing as his father. Nope. Turns out when I took Apollo out to meet cows for the first time, he got close and then turned around and ran back to the barn as fast as he could. With me on him.

So that was out. I then tried Dressage and he loved it. He had a bounce to his step and you could see how much fun he was having. He also loved to jump. He was good at it as well.

Just like people prefer a specific thing, i.e. film, horses, music, law, etc., horses can have preferences as well.

So, if you have a horse that kind of does what you want or does a specific discipline begrudgingly, try to figure out what your horse prefers to do. Try different things with your horse. Even if you’re not 100% great at it.

Another thing to take into account – what can your horse physically do?

For example:

My brother Brian was hurt on the job and is now severely disabled. He can’t sit up for long, stand up for long, or do too much physically. He has a cage around his spine allowing him to move around, but not very well and he is in constant pain.

When I went to visit him we couldn’t do any of the things we used to do before his injury. So, we did it his way. We watched movies on the TV. We still laughed and enjoyed each other’s company, but we had to do our time differently.

And you know what? Just hanging out with my brother watching movies on TV all day was so much fun. It really brought us closer together. I loved it.

And just hanging out with your horse can do the same thing. Consider what your horse loves to do as well as what your horse is physically capable of doing. If all the two of you can do is hang out and enjoy the day together, that’s a lot.

Find what your horse is passionate about and do it your horse’s way, sometimes.

I’d love to hear your stories of what your horse loves to do. Please let me know either by responding to my email or just letting me know in the comment section below.

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  • Sarah Hurrell says:

    What a lovely blog. I love hearing about your family. Very sad that Brian is severely disabled from his job but how wonderful it that you both can still enjoy hanging out together.

    • It really makes a difference to your horse, or family member, when you try to look at things from their perspective and do things they like, for them.

  • Stephanie says:

    I love what you said in today’s email. I shared it with a friend who recently added her first horse to her family.

    Definitely true about horses.

    Made me think of photos of myself when I was younger – and memories also. I’ve not followed thru with those I found enjoyable as a child. I’m still gifted/talented in those areas – but don’t practice. Sad – as I was super creative as a child. Thank you for the reminder of what was and still is important to me.

    • You’re never too old to go after your dreams. Do what makes your heart joyful, even if it’s just a little at a time. 🙂

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