, horses have taught me far more about people than F-4s and F-111s ever did! Including who I am and who I want to become
. My pastor rolls his eyes when I say it, but horses have also taught me about how I believe God interacts with humans. And how a father should work with many sorts of kids, or a teacher with pupils.
"What Horses Have Taught Me About God and Moral Behavior"! I'm not sure if it would be pretentious or too common. But...I find horses challenge my honesty and challenge me to become honest. They see thru my pretenses.
And no good horseman can become a good horseman without learning to LISTEN. When your horse is spinning around on a paved road, nearly mad with fear over something she really didn't need to be afraid of, a fellow comes to realize he should have been listening better and sooner!
Mia and Bandit - spent $1200 on Mia and swapped her for Bandit - have taught me far more about leadership than anything I did or saw in 25 years in the military, including Squadron Officer School
and Air Command and Staff College
. I've worked for enough Colonels and Generals in the US Air Force to suspect most of them couldn't even LEAD a horse to water, let alone get the horse to drink! What Moyra Williams wrote in 1960 resonates:
...Ridden by neck-aids, the horse is a free individual. It cannot be forced. It can not be controlled, but it can and does have to be guided. It has to have everything explained to it, and its cooperation has then to be won over. If it is asked to do anything absurd, it will merely say, "This fool rider does not know what he is talking about," and go its own way. It is hopeless to try riding by neck-aids until one has learnt the horse's language...
...As soon as a person is prepared to follow his horse, his seat will come automatically. His only problem then is the eternal one of the educationalist and the politician - that of getting what he wants out of his subject. This is an art, not a technique; it is a skill, not a science. When to give in, when to press forward; when to exert authority and when to withdraw it - these are moments whose recognition cannot be taught by rule of thumb. They can only be recognized by the sympathetic - by the person who is not entirely engrossed in his own welfare. Only two laws can, I think, be said to hold for all occasions. The first is "Know your goal before you set out", for the unguided horse, like the mass of human beings, will go nowhere if left to itself. The second is "Don't give orders without a reason".
Looking back on my 25 years in the military, I think "Know your goal before you set out
" should be tattooed on the left forearm of every officer, and "Don't give orders without a reason
" tattooed on the right forearm! And then officers should be required to wear short sleeves...
Except...it really isn't funny! I doubt I spent more than 10% of my time working for someone who understood those rules. In my defense, for all my faults as an officer, I was better than most in following them. But you then run into another bit of reality: Following those rules will NOT get you promoted!