Maribeth Dunlap Dressage

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A Father's Explanation of Why He Had Horses for His Children

Posted on September 1, 2017 at 9:20 AM

A Father's Explanation of Why He Had Horses for His Children

~ Author Unknown


My daughter turned sixteen years old today; which is a milestone for most

people. Besides looking at baby photos and childhood trinkets with her, I

took time to reflect on the young woman my daughter had become and the

choices she would face in the future.


As I looked at her I could see the athlete she was, and determined woman she

would soon be. I started thinking about some of the girls we knew in our

town who were already pregnant, pierced in several places, hair every color

under the sun, drop outs, drug addicts and on the fast track to no-where,

seeking surface identities because they had no inner self esteem. The

parents of these same girls have asked me why I "waste" the money on horses

so my daughter can ride. I'm told she will grow out of it, lose interest,

discover boys and all kinds of things that try to pin the current

generation' s "slacker" label on my child. I don't think it will happen, I

think she will love and have horses all her life.


Because my daughter grew up with horses she has compassion. She knows that

we must take special care of the very young and the very old. We must make

sure those without voices to speak of their pain are still cared for.


Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned responsibility for

others than herself. She learned that regardless of the weather you must

still care for those you have the stewardship of. There are no "days off"

just because you don't feel like being a horse owner that day. She learned

that for every hour of fun you have there are days of hard slogging work you

must do first.


Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned not to be afraid of

getting dirty and that appearances don't matter to most of the breathing

things in the world we live in. Horses do not care about designer clothes,

jewelry, pretty hairdos or anything else we put on our bodies to try to

impress others. What a horse cares about are your abilities to work within

his natural world, he doesn't care if you're wearing $80.00 jeans while you

do it.


Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned about sex and how it can

both enrich and complicate lives. She learned that it only takes one time to

produce a baby, and the only way to ensure babies aren't produced is not to

breed. She learned how babies are planned, made, born and, sadly, sometimes

die before reaching their potential. She learned how sleepless nights and

trying to out-smart a crafty old broodmare could result in getting to see,

as non-horse owning people rarely do, the birth of a true miracle.


Because my daughter grew up with horses she understands the value of money.

Every dollar can be translated into bales of hay, bags of feed or farrier

visits. Purchasing non-necessities during lean times can mean the difference

between feed and good care, or neglect and starvation. She has learned to

judge the level of her care against the care she sees provided by others and

to make sure her stan-dards never lower, and only increase as her knowledge

grows.


Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to learn on her own.

She has had teachers that cannot speak, nor write, nor communicate beyond

body language and reactions. She has had to learn to "read" her surroundings

for both safe and unsafe objects, to look for hazards where others might

only see a pretty meadow. She has learned to judge people as she judges

horses. She looks beyond appearances and trappings to see what is within.


Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned sportsmanship to a

high degree. Everyone that competes fairly is a winner. Trophies and ribbons

may prove someone a winner, but they do not prove someone is a horseman. She

has also learned that some people will do anything to win, regardless of

who it hurts. She knows that those who will cheat in the show ring will also

cheat in every other aspect of their life and are not to be trusted.


Because my daughter grew up with horses she has self-esteem and an engaging

personality. She can talk to anyone she meets with confidence, because she

has to express herself to her horse with more than words. She knows the

satisfaction of controlling and teaching a 1000 pound animal that will yield

willingly to her gentle touch and ignore the more forceful and inept

handling of those stronger than she is. She holds herself with poise and

professionalism in the company of those far older than herself.


Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to plan ahead. She

knows that choices made today can effect what happens five years down the

road. She knows that you cannot care for and protect your investments

without savings to fall back on. She knows the value of land and build-ings.

And that caring for your vehicle can mean the difference between easy travel

or being stranded on the side of the road with a four horse trailer on a hot

day.


When I look at what she has learned and what it will help her become, I can

honestly say that I haven't "wasted" a penny on providing her with horses. I

only wish that all children had the same opportunities to learn these

lessons from horses before setting out on the road to adulthood.



Categories: Odds & Ends