I lead busy a life. Sometimes however, it feels like the busy life leads me. My question lately is ‘How healthy is ‘busy’ exactly?’ And how this applies to horses and to my life.
Since the spring started the equestrian community woke up. After a one year presence and consistent advertising, what I predicted more or less came true, and explosion of interest and work for my saddle dealership took hold of me. This is great and very welcome, as the income from this helps me to clear some debts, expand my business, fix odd and ends around my apartment that need doing, order and stock pile horse and pet feed for the financially difficult autumn and winter, and maybe… just maybe… put enough away to go on a little holiday this summer.
I am a small business owner. My small business, if I had the time for it, at the moment could function as a full time job, as the amount of work surrounds it takes up about those kinds of hours. In between admin, correspondence, saddle cleaning care and logistics, couriers and all the minutiae of the work is very time consuming and it is basically only me doing that with my one assistant.
Honestly, I love the freedom of making, creating and accomplishing my own work. But I also work another full time job, in which the schedule and hours are constantly changing and I have no control and say over my time and duties there. So I must fit everything around that. It is a tricky balancing act and most of the time I succeed.
But how healthy is busy? If I am doing all this in order to not only support my horse and myself but maybe to better my future too, is it worth it if at the end of the day I am too exhausted to cook, eat, or be mentally and emotionally available to my partner, my friends and family? I cannot remember the last time I Skyped my family in Australia, or even my best friend in Switzerland.
And when I get to Sanson, how healthy is it to be ‘busy’ with him? If I was the type of trainer where I created a horse who simply does everything I tell him and he long since learned that his comfort, thoughts or opinions don’t matter, sure… I could go to the stable with a busy attitude and get what I needed from my horse.
But I am not this trainer.
I have decided to take a pathway where I welcome, require and value Sanson- or any other horses- input into their activities. I don’t let them call the shots over me and ultimately I assert my rights as a leader, guide and their caretaker, but I definitely want an expressive horse who knows they can tell me if they are in discomfort, confusion or stress- for whatever reason.
If I approach Sanson with my andrenelin high, to-do list long, and expectations strong, I know that I am going to be a slightly vile and off putting two legged creature to him. Horses don’t understand such energy. They can be conditioned to cope with it, but they do not understand time like we do. Time just Is to them and so are they. Their rhythms are different and so is their perspective on the world.
So when I am busy and overwhelmed from my career and work, I try to treat the stable as a location that time forgot. This can be a challenge as the stable is now also a place intermingled with my work, as I start to give trainings to other borders and frequently am called upon for saddle fittings and consultations even within my own stable. But that doesn’t stop me from protecting my time with Sanson. As much as I can, I put a bubble around us in which the outside world cannot penetrate. Like an alter or a place of reflection and worship.
My time with my horse is important and sacred to me. Sanson needs and appreciates this! He knows when I pull my phone out, either when on the ground or in the saddle, and he absolutely hates it. He wants me to be present with him… he needs a very present rider to feel safe and guided well. He hates it when I talk to other people when I work with him. Many times he trotted or cantered away when during groundwork someone brought me a coffee and I just looked at them and said ‘Thank you’.
To my horse our time together for him is also very important. He had some bad experiences with people and his body is all that he has. He needs me to respect that. And a busy attitude is a sign of disrespect to him.
At least that is how I feel it.