Welcome To My Horse World - Part 1

Welcome To My Horse World – Part 1

Maryse with Kabouter

A Brief History

I’m just an average guy, born in 1963, with a sweet daughter who, at the end of 2003, finally succeeded in persuading us to let her learn horse riding. Her efforts were really persistent! Many parents find themselves in a similar situation, I know. And finally we gave in to her wish. Although we felt VERY concerned for her safety, especially because me and my wife had no knowledge about horses at all!

So, with a load of negative preconceptions about horse riding (examples: horses primarily being stinky and toys for rich and spoilt girls), I went with my daughter to the local riding school. Because my daughter needed support, and my wife was terrified, I was “forced” to get involved. Not by riding (because of my severe back injury), but by learning how to interact with horses. Concerns about our safety were the only things in my mind in the beginning.

As a kid I remember myself dreaming about being able to communicate with other species. At that time It seemed to me, only logical. And I was trying too!! Had NO idea how! But as with most people, rational logic and growing up, forced my attention away, towards a proper education, marriage, jobs, and all other “human stuff”, like cars, mortgages, and so my dreams and fantasies became overgrown with “everyday life”…

Boy! Was I in for a surprise, I had no idea yet!

Looking back from now, I think I then had 3 advantages that made me able to SEE the horses differently:
– My back problem would prevent me from riding, ever…
– The teachers were focusing on everybody BUT me…
– I had completely NO horse education at all…

Captivated beautyThe first riding school was a total disaster for both of us. There was only room for violence and harsh riding. If a horse didn’t do as demanded, there was only punishment for the horse, not even the CONSIDERATION that the horse might not have understood the question… There was completely no real education in how to even handle a horse, so we left there and found a better (kinder) school.

It only took a few visits for me to realise that, locked up in those stables, there stood majestic animals so close to me, like I had never seen before. But here too, the way they were kept and treated, made me feel sorry for them. And it also seemed I was alone in this perception… For me, at that point, my preconceptions about cruelty towards animals were re-affirmed. Could it be, this was the only way interactions with this species were possible??? That would be not OK….

Almost everyone around me who I questioned about this, the instructor, the riders, people with experience, all said the same: A horse can NEVER EVER be trusted, so they must know who is the boss. But if that were the truth, what would be the joy about it? What was the fun in working with an animal that ‘was only waiting for an opportunity to kick, or even try to KILL you”? My feelings told me that I was totally safe, there was no danger towards me, and again I was puzzled by what I was hearing and feeling, and I couldn’t let it go,

And at one point, I remember, the horses were all looking at me from their stables, curious, but why? So I instinctively winked with both eyes to them, and they instantly winked back at me! Could it be, they were “seeing” what was forming inside my mind?

Part 2 to follow shortly…

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About the author

Paul Sloot

Born in Sydney Australia, I now live in the the north of Holland and speak Dutch, English and German. I'm married with a son and a daughter and am also blessed with 2 horses… I work 50% of the time as a fraud-inspector for the local government, and for the other 50% I am a photographer. You can view a selection of my work on my. Flickr stream.

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