Wednesday, March 18, 2015

what you have, where you have it

I watched that video and grinned, laughing inside, because at that very moment we had a horse at the barn I work at who was being led in and out of turn-out with a chain over or under his nose.  "First, take the stud chain off."  But I still wasn't brave enough to do it.  I was amazed that this horse could be working for about anyone at 1st level, schooling higher, beginning flying changes, and yet had not been taught to pick up his feet, stand for the farrier, or lead.  You could canter this horse around and yet you could not stop at the end of the barn and catch up on business with someone while you were leading him out.  His legs were important and expensive enough to be booted up but he was not capable of standing there while you took them off.

Honestly, it didn't take me long to teach him to stand there while I took those boots off.  About a week.  But leading him, with another horse, without a stud chain?  In truth it was the cowboy who was hired to put some miles on the horse who got tired of dealing with the chain and put a cotton lead on, and once it was there I left it.  And it was fine.

And what I was thinking in regards to this is that you start where you are.  And you start where the horse is.  You work where you are, with what you have.  I remember Buck talking about colts in the East, and how they don't get to be colts and horses in the way they do in the West.  And he has a point.  I don't live where a horse has a regular job.  I don't make a lot of money but I've got to make some and I've found I can't sell snake oil no matter how hard I try so I do what I do and feel lucky to be able to do that and little along, and part of what I'm doing now and will likely always be doing as long as I get to work with horses is dealing with boarders' horses with said boarders having very different ideas of horsemanship and horse behavior and needs than I do.  And working with other minimum wage workers, mostly boys, who are doing a job temporarily until they find something better, who's idea is to get to the end of the tasks and not to take care of the horses.

And none of that matters.  I do what I do.  I learn.  I do better.  I am where I am.  I hallucinate that someday my horse(s) will be so extraordinary that people will say, how did you do that?  But usually they just say, will you teach my horse to pick up his feet?  And I'll tell ya, I'm grateful for the opportunity.  Because I learn.  And the horse learns.  And I get to do stuff.  And I get to care, and take care, and sometimes even to be taken care of.

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