Time is all we have. Sometime, anytime, every-time, all the time, time for this and time for that. When you think about it, we deal with time all of the time.
In this world of ours, we’ve become so aware or maybe unaware of time that we live our lives as if there’s no time at all. We want everything to be instantaneous. Wanting a faster response from everything we do and have is the norm. Things need to be done in mega seconds or nano-seconds or whatever those things are called. Our phones are fast and smart. Our computer’s operating speed is off the charts because we need speed. We’ve no time to wait.
Our ability to communicate with others has to be fast, too. Heaven forbid we have to wait for three or four rings to have someone answer a phone. We don’t even have time to talk to the person we wish to communicate with. We don’t have time to leave a voice message any- more. Now we just text people so we don’t have to actually talk to someone. Do you call it progress? Maybe not”¦
The conditioning we’ve received from living at high speed doesn’t go well with being a good horseman. When I talk of time relative to our horses I’m talking about LOTS of it.
All we have is time, so when you go to the barn you have to get the ways of the world, as you know it, out of your head. Throw the Smart Phone out the door, or leave it at the house. Take off your watch and stop looking at the clock. If you are going to give your horse the TIME he deserves, then do it. Don’t be distracted by all of the STUFF that’s in your life. After all, don’t you have a horse to help you go to a good place away from all of the STUFF in your life? The time spent with a horse should be quality time. Take the time to unwind and enjoy the fun and work, if you can call it that, of owning a horse.
Time is all we have while we are working with our horse. The only way we can help develop the horse we want is to put in the time necessary to get there. Hours of handling on the ground and in the saddle are what make the horse we desire.
In our “instant gratification” world we get caught up thinking that everything we do should be that way. When we expect our horses to respond to our cues instantly, we are setting ourselves up for a big disappointment. When you cue your horse, you have to allow time for him to recognize that you’re asking for something. He has to think about what you’re asking for, and then take a best guess on how to respond, and then respond. The process isn’t instant even if your horse guessed right. It takes time.
Training ourselves to slow down and take the time needed for an action and response is one of our biggest challenges. Again, our need for that instant response has to go away. If you insist on getting your way and getting it right now you are going to become very frustrated and your horse is not going to be happy either. He is going to respond unfavorably in any number of ways, none of which will make you or your horse happy.
You have to be willing to put in the time necessary to allow your horse to learn.
I’ve started lots of young horses by ponying them. In most cases each youngster has had times when they were unsure of a situation and didn’t wish to follow my lead. Out on the trail we encounter lots of obstacles such as water crossings, deadfall, long hills, and rocks. On occasion these students decide they don’t want to step over a large log lying across the trail. To get the desired response I have to take the time needed for the colt to think about what I’m asking for. He has to size up the log, observe what’s in front of and behind it, figure out how big it is and how he’s going to get over it. He has to decide if he’s going to step over it or jump. He also has to decide whether he’s going to get over quickly or slowly. All the while, I have the lead of his halter holding firm but gentle pressure waiting for him to find the release and figure it out. All I have is time so time is what I give my student. That’s what it takes. I could be in a hurry and drag the colt over the log because the horse or mule I’m riding could sure do it, but what would that accomplish? The colt wouldn’t learn anything good from that experience. So, I simply wait patiently and allow the colt to look things over and think about his options. Doing so is not instant, but it’s the correct thing to do. After he figures out how to negotiate the log on his time, he knows how he can get over the next one with ease.
I’ve had times when a colt will get to a point that he thinks he’s tired and wants to quit moving and plants his feet. Stopping is not an option until I decide we’re stopping so when that happens I don’t get in a war and drag him along. I wait there with firm pressure on the lead and pretty soon he finds the release by stepping forward and figures out it’s easier to keep moving than it is to pull on the halter and lead. Taking a little time and letting the colt figure things out, is again, the best and correct thing to do.
Time allows us the chance to mess things up and it gives us the chance get things right. Time is all we have. Figuring out what we’re going to do with the time we have is the hardest and most important thing we can do in regard to working with our horse and in life. We can continue to move through life expecting to get everything RIGHT NOW or we can slow down and give time a chance.
If we give our horses the time they need to become great we will soon figure out that we have the time to be great, too. Time is all we have. How are you going to use yours? Are you going to continue to be in a hurry and miss out on the good stuff, or are you going to slow down and wait for the release. The release is what we’re looking for, man and horse”¦ “It’ll Be Fine when we all realize that TIME IS ALL WE HAVE.”
Doug and Jody Lindgren own and operate Hay Creek Ranch, Nemo, SD and HCR-AZ, Oracle, AZ.
Both camps focus on guests vacationing with their own horses.
Doug rides year-around, training horses to be great trail horses.
Visit www.haycreekranch.net for more information about both locations.