Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why I Am A Working Horseman

A while ago someone said to me, "So you're a professional horseman."  And that statement caused me to hiccup, to stammer, to say, "Well, I clean stalls too."

I suppose that my contact with "professional" horsemen hasn't left that good a taste in my mouth.  I hadn't really realized that until faced with that question.  It is like the term "cowboy" -- it can be a  term of great derision or a term of great respect but you rather need a qualifier to tell which one.

I've noted the term "working" used as the qualifier for "cowboy" to delineate it from wannabe or pseudo or weekend or play pretty or dress-up or whatever cowboys.  I've decided that I am a Working Horseman.

When I show up to a feeding, I'm not trying to finish as soon as possible and get out of there.  Rather I like horses and I like being around them.  I want to notice how they are doing, are they drinking, are they pooping, are their eyes bright, are they curious.  The "Professional Horseman" often misses this part, and especially the part about poop.  When I ride, I'm concerned with how the horse is doing, and why that might be, and how my relationship with that horse can improve that, rather than what the next showing will be like.  I pay attention to the horses out in their fields, not just for their beauty but because that is a huge part of a husbandman's work.  I make sure the hoses are drained even if I'm not working the next really cold day.  I pay attention.  I do less sooner, or at least that is always my ambition.  I do not think it is someone else's problem.  Because to me, horses are not problems.

I am also not trying to convince anyone of my invincibility.  I'll be honest as to what my opinion is even if I know you won't like it.  I don't think anyone is below me.   Whatever it is that you know, I'm interested in knowing it too.  If your horse is looking good, I think that is great and I want to know what went in to it.  I'm not in a competition and I'm not in a hierarchy.

"Working" implies a level of aspiration.  I'm working on it.  I haven't arrived, and never will.

Thus I am a Working Horseman.