I ducked into the tack room to prepare morning mash for the horses while Stacy was moving them into their stalls. Just as I got the first bucket mixed and ready to go I heard a little ruckus outside and Maddie barking her “Mom, the horses aren’t where they’re suppose to be” bark. As I stuck my head out Comet, Princess, and Butler were running around the yard, Maddie in hot pursuit. Stacy was hustling to close the gate to the paddock so the others couldn’t join the party.
Now if you’ve been around horses you know this happens from time to time when the smallest opportunity presents itself for horses to move through an open gate. The odds increase if there’s promise of food.
After we got everyone put where they belong and breakfast served, Stacy and I took a moment to laugh about the events. It can be exciting to be in the middle of a bowl of dust and running horses, as well as a bit unnerving.
Stacy asked how I kept this scenario from happening. We talked about different ways to handle this situation. During our conversation I shared a couple of tips with her that made me stop and realize implications they had in other areas of my life too.
Tip #1: Allow others to use their strengths and abilities to assist you. In this case work with Butler, the leader of the herd. He’ll put everyone else in line and order. When entering the paddock, allow Butler to come up to the gate. He’ll then make sure no one crowds him or the gate, moving the others away. If you stand there a few seconds longer, the others will often line themselves up in the order they are suppose to be, based on rank within the herd. Wait until Butler and the rest have settled down and then open the gate and the horses are likely to move orderly.
Often we think we have to do things ourselves, overlooking others who are available and eager to support us. All we need to do is recognize them and ask. Butler is definitely more efficient and faster at creating order in the herd. He can do it within seconds, and often with just the flick of an ear, the raising of a hind hoof, or the famous Butler stare. I can do it too, but it takes a little longer.
Butler’s energy also influences the energy of the herd. When he’s riled up and anxious so are the others. When he’s calm, they are too. By waiting just a few extra seconds for his energy to calm and influence the herd, my job becomes much easier.
Tip #2: Recognize the tools you have available. Comet loves an adventure and will try to sneak out with another horse. He’ll often approach the gate behind a horse going out in the hopes he can squeeze through too. Use what is already there to hold him, in this case the gate. When opening the gate, open it into the paddock. This creates a small pocket behind the opened gate, and acts as a barrier for anyone behind it. Move Comet behind the gate, and let the gate hold him for the few seconds it takes to move a horse out of the paddock.
It’s common for us to think we have to have a certain type of training, or have a specific piece of equipment to make a task easier or even possible. In this case, horse training experience or some sort of handy dandy magic piece of horse equipment that would keep Comet from sneaking out of the gate with another horse. Yet more often than not, we already have the knowledge and tools we need.
We often wield the belief of not having or being enough as an excuse to continue behaving as we are, or as a reason to not do something we are fully capable of doing. Sometimes we just have to think outside the limiting belief box we’ve put ourselves.
Reflect for a moment about your life and where there are opportunities to enlist the help of others to accomplish things quicker and easier. It can be very freeing and liberating to find someone else to help.
What tools, including knowledge, do you already have? Sometimes we just need the courage to use what we know. Confidence in your knowledge comes from putting it to use. How can you use what is already present in your life to accomplish tasks, realize dreams, and create a different outcome? Where are tools and opportunities already present that are ready to be put to use?
Loose horses can eventually get where they need to be, but it takes a lot of extra effort. It’s up to you. Will there be loose horses in your life, or the power of a herd working together?