Horses are the best teachers, and what you learn from them will shape you in so many ways, including your personal- and work life!
Sooooo - Let me tell you about 3 horses that changed me!
Growing up, I was a quiet kid, trying to stay invisible, and avoid any attention towards me. My story with horses started just before I turned 14 years old. Together with my cousin Linn, I started riding at the local riding school. I love animals, and to be able to learn how to ride a horse was amazing!
However - things did not go exactly as I dreamt about, and I fell off the horse so many times. I was already a very shy and insecure girl, and this did not help my confidence.
So why did I not just Quit?
Horse number 1 - LADY
This is where my changes started! I really really wanted to learn how to ride.
I had found something bigger than fear and her name was Lady! She was the first horse that started building my confidence. She was a MARE 100% and for a frightened girl, this did not seem to be the best Match! BUT - I think I found something in her, that reminded me about my self. She taught me so much - she was not always an easy horse (probably because I did not give the right messages back then), but I never fell off and she built my confidence step by step! I will forever be grateful for Lady - she was one of a kind, and the reason I got my first own horse.
Horse number 2 - SPENCER
After 2 years in the Riding School, we bought our first horse. I did not know much about him, even though he was from a private stable in the same area as my riding school.
If I had known him already, or people had told me about him, I would probably never even tried him because he was NOT a horse for a novice rider.
This is why I tell people never to judge horses (or people) on what other people say! Everyone connects with different people and horses, and a complete match for you can be a total mistake for someone else.
It is so important to
ALWAYS BE OPENMINDED!!
Anyway - Spencer was for sale, and both I and my sister tried him and he was perfect - It was like he said: Buy me! Little did I know that he would test me in so many ways. It turned out he was not safe in traffic, he would run out, he was food aggressive, did not like anyone to enter his area, he would buck and rear. He was afraid of vets, impossible to load into a trailer, he would not jump, he did not trust anyone. The list was long, and we did not find out any of this before we bought him.
Anyway - it was much the same as I found in Lady, some kind of spirit that triggered me to go on even though I would come home crying after yet another ride feeling like a failure! But with determination comes progress. He started to trust me - we moved him home away from all the noise and people in a big stable. I learned everything from him - how to use my body language, how much my mindset mattered and my determination to learn how to communicate in a way that was good for both Spencer and me. He taught me so much, without losing his crazy personality. He taught my daughter to ride, and so many other students of mine have learned from him and I am so grateful to have had the honor to have him in my life. He lived to be 28 years old and was in my life for 21 years.
Will you learn anything if you never try or if everything was easy and you already knew how to do it?
Don't be afraid to try - this is the only way you can learn - failure is never the outcome- you either learn from it or you win!
Never give up! You can DO it!
Horse number 3 - Chippy Frost G
Chippy Frost G came into my life 25 years ago, at age 5. He died April 2019, at age 30! I still get emotional talking about him - he was such a special horse!
When I look back at these 3 horses, there is a red line! They all had a mind of their own, they all have issues and gave me struggle, but they would willingly listen to anyone who did the work and learned to communicate!
After 2 years with Spencer, I decided to have a look at another horse and found an interesting horse online. I took the train for 2 hours, and met this horse! I do not remember so much from the meeting, but I do remember that I saddle up, took him down the hill for a walk, and at the end of the road we turned around to get up again. The moment I turned him around, he flew in full gallop up to the stable. It gave me such a rush! I loved it - some weeks later we went back to bring him home.
No trailer loading problems at all! Such a blessing.
Chippy was a warmblood trotter and had had very little riding horse experience. He did not know any signals. AND he was a dominant leader! He could kick, bite, did not know anything about riding, and he would dominate any horse and rider and he believed all his life that he was a stallion. I started training him, and he loved to learn and would do anything. I taught him showjumping, and he was a natural jumper - he loved it!
He became the best teacher for Spencer and me.
His dominant behavior towards us was a lack of trust and people thinking they needed to dominant him to "break him". I learned to do it right by failing a thousand times. The moment I communicated in the right way, he would listen and he did it willingly because then he did not have to be in control and could relax for a bit.
He was the best leader for all the horses he met. He was such a good leader when he learned to communicate without kicking and biting.
If you do not listen, you might never see your real horse. Horses are so often misunderstood and labeled as moody, grumpy, difficult or maybe angry. When I feel uncomfortable, I often end up putting a mask on, and people do not really meet the real ME. Horses may do the same!
Listen to yourself, listen to your horse and believe in your self - you can do it!
Chippy could be defined as many things by people that did not know him, but for us, that really knew him: he loved to play, he loved to cuddle, he loved hanging around us and he would let any person take charge as long as they gave him the right signals.
He taught so many kids and adults how to lead, ride, jump - he was the born leader and teacher and will be in our hearts forever
I still miss him so much, and to have a horse that both my kids could enjoy as well, was magical! We miss him so much but are forever grateful for the time and years we spent with him.
Spencer & Chippy - forever in our hearts!