It is the last that prompts me to write today. I received some very helpful feedback this week that has me thinking about how best to ensure a quality equine education whilst maintaining a strict safety policy. It doesn't take too much time around a barn to either have an accident or to hear of one. And when I say 'accident' I don't mean a fall or injury, but something smaller like having a boot squashed by an impatient steed. Those moments are small reminders of just how big our partners are, and how vigilant we must be as their leaders. In my opinion, it is those small incidents that, if heeded, help prevent the catastrophes.
One such example is the pushy pony (let's use Cloud as an example)
I am no stranger to pushy ponies, and can even understand why he might be this way (though it is quite rude behavior!). My concern does not stem so much from his inner couch potato, as it does from the multiple students who passed a younger rider, could clearly see the tears on her face and kept walking.
We have the best students (do I sound like our Commander in Chief, or what??), so much so that I often forget how young they are. Our interns get their job done, our students care deeply about the horses and our parents are supportive and inquisitive. That said, we all make mistakes and self-absorption is probably high on the list. I cannot fault young riders for getting caught up in their own tasks, but growing up and growing as a rider require compassion, thoughtfulness and generosity. My hope is that we can all apply those principles not only to our horses but to each other, in the barn and out.