A New Year a New Way of Thinking
There’sa saying that goes, ‘you tell a gelding, you ask a mare and you discuss with astallion’, and it’s a saying I largely dismissed as an amusing equine myth –until I got a mare.
Mina is my mare; a very well put togetherPRE Andalusian who had been backed and ridden when I bought her, but notschooled in any great way.
This wasn’t a concern of mine; I waslooking forward to the challenge.
Two years down the line, Mina has dumped me on my ass, kicked me in my lady parts and bitten my leg. It’s kind of soul destroying at times when all you want is to feel the love. In fact, that’s why I called her Mina; it’s Pashto for ‘love’ and it sounded preferable to her full name Domina, although that probably explains more than I realised at the time of purchase.
In contrast, my off-the-track thoroughbred,Lucky, is as soft as a puppy dog. He is probably the most affectionate horse atour yard and everyone adores him because he adores them. Mina? Well, they’re alittle more wary. And who can blame them? When she first arrived, she wouldspin and double barrel anyone who came into her stable or paddock.
Within a couple of weeks, carrots hadsolved that particular dilemma, but she has always retained this edge to hercharacter and lately, I’ve been thinking, that it’s probably not Mina who’s inthe wrong – but me.
Mina is not a puppy. Not even a Rottweilerpuppy. She’s a horse, and not only that, she’s the most horse-like of all horsesbecause she’s a mare.
The sad truth is, I don’t think Minaespecially wants me in her stable looking for goodnight kisses when there’s abed waiting to be eaten. I don’t think she wants to please me simply becausethat’s what I expect her to want to do. And I don’t think she gives a damn ifI’m upset or frustrated at her efforts to thwart the forging of our unique andspecial bond.
No, I think she’s a horse who likes herown space. She’s also a horse that doesn’t like to be ridden badly. This horse ofmine is a forgiveness-free zone. And I get that now. It’s humbling, but it’snot a deal breaker. I simply need to become a better rider and I need to listenmore.
Sometimes it’s all too easy to fall intothe trap of thinking love is enough to get you through the tough days. It’snot. Mina the Mare is more complex than Lucky the Gelding. Maybe, in time, Minamight soften, but it will be in the spirit of compromise; once I’ve learned tolisten to what she’s saying before asking her to do something I might like. Andthat’s OK.
In many ways, Mina has taught me more about horses than Lucky has, and though I’m still tripping up on this new path, I am trying to stay true to it. I guess this is my New Year’s resolution.
This January, it’s not only the start of a new year, but the start of a new decade and it’s probably an ideal time to reassess where we are all going and how we can make life better for our horses and dogs. I know I’m not alone in this thought; I was discussing this very topic with Tracy a few days ago so I know she has also been working on a number of new ideas to make the Aqueos brand even better (spoiler alert: watch out for a new no-rinse dog shampoo coming soon, biodegradable wipes and other eco-friendly developments).
Naturally, my goal for 2020 is a little less ambitious; I simply want to learn how to ask for Mina’s cooperation in a way that doesn’t automatically elicit the response, ‘No, now get the hell out of my stable!’