Buying a horse for the correct purpose

The life of horses is an interesting one, the lives of humans having horses is equally, if not, more interesting. As an Animal Linguist and Human Behavioralist it is interesting to watch the goings on between human and horse and how horses become part of a human family.

unnamedI came across an interesting scenario the other day whereby, a woman brought a horse for her daughter so her daughter could learn to ride. She really wanted her daughter to ride horses as she had as a little girl, but the the daughter much preferred to play basketball.

The horse she purchased was a very gorgeous horse and ticks all the right boxes; he is a mighty fine looking horse, long flowing, thick and luscious white mane and tail and a deep rich golden colour, he was the right height 15.1hh (give or take) and his feet were in good nick. He is a stunning looking horse.

The interesting question is, is Mum buying her child a horse through the fantasy eyes of her own inner child and not what is suitable for her own child to learn to ride or is she buying the horse that her daughter requires to have a deep connection and understanding and was the horse suitable for her level of ability? Damn, I would have brought the horse on his colour alone; he was stunning and definitely pulled at my heartstrings in the “I want” scenario and the sealer of the deal – his name was Magic.

So Magic was purchased for ten year old daughter and they soon discovered that Magic wasn’t so Magic and was renowned for bucking people off. He had a stubborn streak and when enough was enough, he put his head between his knees and bucked. Invariably, people hit the ground, but did people learn their lesson, their humbling by the horse – No they didn’t – pretty horse soon became ugly horse and he was sold on and on and on and for 15 1/2 years this was Magic’s life.  Nobody really worked out his issues and he went from home to home.

So mum, after bringing stunning looking horse home began to ride him as he had been sitting in a paddock, doing what horses do best, but she thought she would work him and make him less fresh for the daughter to ride. Magic performed beautifully for the first couple of rides, then he was up to his old tricks and bucked her off and then bucked her off again. Not aggressively, just a little nudge and she landed on the ground – but man, he was such a good-looking horse and was quiet and extremely reliable in hand. So daughter began her lessons on Magic and the partnership began; her and her mother’s ideal horse for her and Grandma would have been proud as this is what she had done for her own daughter when she was her age.

Magic performed well for the first couple of months, he was the absolute gentleman and then came the buck, the humbling experience that landed said daughter in hospital with a broken leg. Daughter announced she was too afraid to ride again, and never wanted to go on another horse – best way to get over your fear is to get back up again on the horse – right?

So Mum, seeing the fear her daughter had for her horse, went out and brought another horse, this time a pony, stunning looking, jet black and shone beautifully in the sun. He was a lot smaller than Magic, so would be easy enough for the daughter to get on and ride. So Clancy came home. Daughter didn’t want to ride Clancy, so mum brought another small horse for her to ride alongside her daughter as she thought that that would be ideal and they could both go riding together. So third horse Sparky, came home. They were a beautiful looking trio. Palomino, jet black and white. They did look good in the paddock together.

Clancy hadn’t been handle very much, was a little bit on the wild naughty pony side of things, but he was sold as “would make a great kids pony”, so uneducated pony became scared uneducated daughters new friend. Daughter didn’t want a new friend; she wasn’t really interested in riding but did so because her mother wanted her too – she really wanted to play basketball. Things didn’t go to plan, the fear set in, and rather than address her fear was forced to climb up on board and again, daughter was bucked off.   Clancy wasn’t ridden again and now is quite a feral, headstrong pony and Sparky, as mum was actually too big to ride him now is a paddock mate. The fantasy of riding out with her daughter over rode the decision to purchase a suitable horse for herself.

Go forward twelve months – the three horses have sat in the paddock doing what they love doing – being a horse; bucking, galloping, playing, lying in the sun and eating. A great life for a horse in the eyes of a horse. However, all three horses will be sold, as they are “going to waste” in the paddock and the cycle for Magic continues, because nobody has bothered to address the issues of Magic and the ponies, will be sold as gorgeous looking ponies suitable for children.

Mum has come to the realization that daughter is not interested in riding ever and has finally decided that the three horses were not what she wanted and they are now all advertised for sale. What they are advertised as, I don’t know,  but Magic is now rising 18 years of age and has sat in the paddock for nearly two years and not one person has addressed his insecurities and his need to buck.

One of the biggest lessons in this, is that mum has realized that she was trying to make the daughter live in her values and her fantasy of what she wanted for her daughter and also in a way still living in her own mothers values of what would be best for her grandchild; it was good enough for her growing up, it is good enough for the grandchild.

By living in the fantasy of what her and her daughter could do together, she ultimately brought the fantasy horse, the ideal horse that any little girl would love to own and purchased the horse on colour alone hoping that that would seal the deal for her daughter.

So we have the interesting dynamics of mum living in Grandma’s values, and still trying to please her own mother. Mother imposing her values on her daughter and daughter trying to live up to mums own expectations of her wanting to ride a horse, when in actual fact her daughter was truly inspired to play basketball and she didn’t see how valuable it was for her daughter to do that, so imposed her value system on her.

Daughter is now playing basketball and mum has decided that in actual fact, she really wanted a horse that she could ride and do endurance on (which her own mother thinks is a great waste of money and she would be mad to do so).

When we live in our own values and not those imposed upon us by others we can truly live an inspired life, a life of our own design. It is important to listen to the language we use and when we are using the language of “I should be” “I need to” “I want to”, it is wise to ask ourselves, whose values am I living my life through, because when we live our lives according to “I should be” we are injecting the values of a perceived higher authority.

When we are living our lives according to our own unique set of values, we say to ourselves “I would love to” or “I am inspired to do so”.

These horses provided a valuable lesson to this family, it took them three horses to get the lesson, but the lesson was had.

I might also add another lesson into the mix; when looking at purchasing a horse it is wise not to purchase a horse by colour alone.

If you are interested in learning your own unique set of values and how you can live your own inspired life I am available for private consults and you can contact me via this link:

Mary Hitchcock
Sacred Whispers
Photographer of Palomino unknown, but thank you and is by no means related to this story