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My Four-legged Professor
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My Four-legged Professor

“Fourteen years and three books later (after buying the first horse), I feel as if I’ve just barely scratched the surface of the wisdom these four-legged professors embody.” Linda Kohanov, Way of the Horse

It’s been too hot to really work Sportie the past two weeks. I saddle up early in the morning when there’s still a slight breeze, promising him our ride will only be half an hour and he will get a nice bath at the end of it.

So to his relief, Sportie doesn’t have to work on smooth trot to canter transitions. He gets to walk the property, and he becomes my teacher instead of me thinking I had anything to teach him.

The biggest thing Sportie teaches me is the riches of quietness. I have always hated awkward silences and will usually be the first to break them, no matter how inane the question or comment may be that I throw out. The more time I spend with horses and seasoned horse people, I discover the value of “talk less, smile more,” to steal a line from the Hamilton soundtrack.

Sportie also taught me that if someone offers you an ear scratch, go for the whole enchilada. He LOVES having his ears scratched. I cup his ear with my hand and run my thumb along the inside, from base to tip, clearing out any dust and debris. When I’m done Sportie thinks he’ll have some more of that, and I brace myself against the nearest fence post while he rubs his face up and down on my soft t-shirt. Why just have a little when you can have a lot?

Eat, savor, enjoy. The world is literally a salad to Sportie. As soon as he’s let loose after a ride he grazes unhurriedly, knowing the field is not going to run out of grass. There’s also something else that never seems to run out – so he never says no to a treat.

And neither will I. Lessons learned.

 

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