Life Lessons from A Horse Trainer

May 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Posted in Horses, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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An excerpt from a recent conversation with my Dad (insert heavy Massachusetts accent):

“Hi Honey, how ah your hosses?”

“They’re good, Dad, I’m headed to the barn now for a riding lesson.”

“LESSON?! Don’t you know how to ride by now? What was I paying for all those yea-ahs?”

“Yes, Dad, I know how to ride. It’s just that with horses, you never really stop learning. You can always be better – there’s always something more to know or a new method to try. Kind of like life.”

“Huh. I thought you were going to outgrow this hoss thing anyway.”

That got me to thinking about how riding really can be like life. I’ve been working with this great trainer here in Maine – Chris Lombard – and some of the things we’re focusing on translate directly to the rest of my life. A few choice lessons from my recent schooling sessions:

1)      Breathe.

2)      Keep a deep seat.

3)      Feel the motion and go with it.

4)      Keep your eyes up and looking forward to where you are going; don’t look down.

5)      Stay alert for the scary stuff, but don’t let it ruin your ride.

6)      When you sense that things are about to go wrong or get scary, sit deep and relax. Let go of the reins so nobody gets banged in the mouth.

7)      Build partnerships based on mutual trust and understanding.

8)      Keep your hands, voice and demeanor soft, unless you’re about to get kicked.

9)      Appreciate and work with each other’s personalities and quirks.

10)   A little understanding goes a long way.

11)   Treats make everyone smile.

12)   Some of us are in it for the fun, some for the competition, and some for the incessant gathering of knowledge – but we all have to slog through the mud at times to get there.poleWalker

And the most important life/riding lesson of all: keep your HEELS DOWN, or you might get dragged!

xo

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Mommy’s Modern Life

July 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Posted in Beauty, Horses, Kids | 2 Comments
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I drink organic tea with piles of Equal in it.

This is just one of a plethora of paradoxes that plague my everyday existence.

I drink the organic tea because I recently read that the Lipton Tea I had been drinking for years was found to have traces of nasty carcinogens and pesticides in it. And because, in general, I like to eat/drink organic or as farm-fresh as possible as often as possible.

I use the chemical-laden Equal artificial sweetener because I don’t want to get fat.

The list goes on and on.

I seek out the most all-natural, BPA-free, GMO-free, fragrance-free, dye-free, rat-poison-free, bug-particle-free body washes and lotions for my children. I wash them lovingly in these products, thinking what a great thing I am doing for them. Then I tromp upstairs to my own bathroom and slather myself in anti-aging creams and potions filled with ingredients lists I cannot pronounce, much less attempt to comprehend. Sure, there are a few “shea butters” and “chamomile extracts” thrown in there, but for the most part, those suckers are filled with nasty plastics and nano-particles that will probably have my skin looking “plump and fresh” long after my dried up carcass is in the ground.

I love my animals like they are my children and want to save every one of the abused and suffering ones in the world. “How can anybody do that to an animal?” I intone, referring to some abuse case or another, all muffled through intermittent chomps on my cheeseburger. Who’s saving those cows, Draghetti?

(sigh) I also:

  • Seek out the most organic, paraben-free, no-animal-testing lip balms I can find, then slather my lips with semi-permanent lipstick every morning. What type of self-adhesive polymers do you think they use to make that stuff stay on your lips all day – even through that hefty plate of nachos??
  • Try to save the planet by recycling every scrap of paper, shred of cardboard and cylinder of tin I can find, then drive off to the redemption center in my giant, gas-guzzling SUV.
  • Buy my cats high-end, all-natural cat food, then apply poison to their skin in the form of Frontline Flea & Tick repellent. (But how else am I supposed to keep the buggies off??)
  • Ditto for the horses: I give them all-natural supplements and perfectly balanced diets, then apply a thorough spraying of chemical-laden bug spray. Hey, the all-natural ones just don’t work that well, and I don’t want to get bucked off because a horsefly just bit one of my geldings on the privates!

Last week, my mother brought cheese puffs to a party at my house. “Cheese puffs??!” I snorted, “Don’t give any of those to my children!!”  Later that night after everyone was gone, I realized I had been too busy to eat dinner and went straight for my secret stash of Ring Dings. Who am I fooling, really?

Back in the day (not really sure what that means, but the ‘young people’ say it so it must be cool), there was this funny little cartoon called “Rocko’s Modern Life”. It was about an Australian wallaby and his bewildering journey through life, where he constantly encountered ironies such as mine. I often think of that little character as I purchase organic vegetables wrapped in carcinogen-emitting plastic. It all just seems to be part of the modern world. No matter how hard you try to eat/look/be healthy and take good care of the planet, some of that new-fangled scientific stuff is going to sneak in. I guess I’ll just have to shrug it off and keep trying.

Besides, nothing is going to get between me and some really good wrinkle cream. Or a fresh box of Ring Dings.

xo

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