Quest for Perfection

I will tell anyone who will listen that I feel as if I have two near-perfect horses…or near perfect for my world.

I was recently working with a horse (that isn’t one of mine) to get him ready to use for Ashley Thompson’s summer camp, which I’ll also be helping out with. The horse has been ‘out to pasture’ for some time now and is underweight and missing that beautiful top line from being worked.

The first time I worked him, he was near-perfect. He rode for about 45 minutes on a trail, but when he was done…he was done. He started crow hopping and min-rearing – nothing serious but enough to get my attention that he wasn’t as perfect as I thought. Our second session I had planned just to groom him and feed him. That’s when I found out that he’s quite food aggressive. He pinned his ears and even swung his rump over to warn me about getting too close. He never acted on his threats – but made them.

Now I was a little more concerned…

But then I took some time to think. The only area I expect perfection is with me and the horses. Yoga has taught me that I’ll never be perfect…so why should I expect perfection out of my horses. Being ‘perfect’ for me is a journey, not a destination…

Case in point: Kobi – I have spent probably thousands of hours working with him. He completely shattered my equine confidence and then built it back up. He is (in my opinion) a horse with one of the best trots and canters around in terms of smoothness. He can neck rein and work off my legs and seat as if through telepathy. But if he’s not in the mood, I can’t get ANYTHING out of him. But I accept his flaws.

Midnight – As near perfect as I’ve ever met. But the first time I lunged him, he broke my lunge line and took a victory lap to the barn. After I recaught him for attempt 2, he pulled the line through my hands and gave me a significant case of rope burn. But I learned. I started using gloves and dropped my level of expectation and worked with baby steps. He still doesn’t pick up his ‘correct’ lead when he canters, but is such a lover on the ground I accept his flaws and will continue to work with him. I can’t put any level rider on him without any worries.

Which brings me back to my original thought: why expect perfection? Find who you love, whether it’s a person or an animal, accept their flaws but continue to grow together with baby steps.

About Heather Hamel

Growing up with horses is a little girls dream come true. Heather’s dream in life was to be a horse trainer - how dreams change - sort of! She moved to the wonderfully historic town of St. Augustine, Florida and was a historic tour guide and a ghost story teller while putting herself through college to become a special education teacher. After graduating, she felt the pull of horses in her life again. That's when she met Kobi! She learned quickly that when you own horses you become a part time vet, part time nutritionist, and full time equestrian. She wouldn't change a thing! In addition to being completely obsessed with her herd, she still teaches and tutors students with learning disabilities, and more specifically, dyslexia.
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