Bandit, Cowboy & bsms...muddling through together - Page 185 - The Horse Forum
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post #1841 of 1967 Old 05-05-2019, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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@SueC , 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:

Quote:
...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!

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #1842 of 1967 Old 05-05-2019, 08:02 PM
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It's interesting you should say that... because working with horses as a child and young person taught me more about working with people and teaching than the Grad.Dip.Ed. I did before entering a classroom. And my Dip.Ed. people were pretty good! Horses teach you decency, and listening, and give you a good social radar. Horses teach you that you can learn more from your students than they're going to learn from you, but because of that, you'll also teach them more than you could have otherwise. Horses teach you to stand beside them when working through a problem, not stand above them... if you'll listen.

Because the army is so hierarchical and about following orders rather than having discourse and cooperating accordingly, I didn't expect that would be very useful in transferring to dealing with people authentically in environments where there is more equality, or in dealing with animals, especially sensitive, intelligent ones. But, I did think the planes might teach a person a thing or two about life? Or should that be, the flying of them? Learning to fly them? The very real risk of dying if you make a mistake? Or if someone tries to shoot you down?

Love the Moyra Williams quote. Good horse training books can do better at teaching people horses aren't robots, than horse riding books can, in general... e.g. Tom Roberts saying, "This is what it looks like from the horse's point of view. Start looking from the horse's point of view." It's about listening, and teamwork - not about ordering and obeying. Which is why I was like this: ...when I first turned up on HF in the days it was densely populated with "order and obey" type people...
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SueC is time travelling.
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post #1843 of 1967 Old 05-05-2019, 08:12 PM
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I agree with both of you completely! I have learned so much about God and faith through horses. How I ask a horse to do something that he doesn’t understand, or how he becomes afraid of something so simple if he wasn’t afraid, but so big when he is... granted, unlike God we can be wrong, but to have Him looking down and to still be so afraid... The horse is like me, looking at irrelevant things in the day’s journey, and focusing worry on something that won’t possibly come into play except in worry.

I have learned so much about everything through horses.
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaam’s Donkey
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post #1844 of 1967 Old 05-05-2019, 08:31 PM
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If we're going to talk Christianity, then Jesus was rather notable for walking the talk, for leading by example, and not expecting others to follow arbitrary rules just because they were there, while not following them himself. He had no time at all for stupid rules, and went out of his way not to be constrained by them. He tended to apply the blowtorch in his speeches to people in authority who abused it, and were hypocritical, and came from an "I'm more important / bigger than you, you worm" position in life. And went personally to the biggest, scariest rubbish bin in life - death - instead of just telling us to wear it.

He also had a thing or two to say about being a servant if you would be a leader, and of laying down your life for your sheep etc.

PS: to your pastor, @bsms !

SueC is time travelling.
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post #1845 of 1967 Old 05-05-2019, 10:31 PM
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...I just found this clip, and thought it was excellent to put into this discussion:


I completely agree with her. She's a biologist and distance / endurance rider, and animal behaviour specialist, who wrote one of my favourite books on horse behaviour:

https://www.booksonhorses.com.au/pro...9780851318882/
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post #1846 of 1967 Old 05-17-2019, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Note from a history buff. This took place on the third day of the battle at Gettysburg, after the failure of Pickett's Charge, as told by a British officer who observed the battle:

"Notwithstanding the misfortune which had so suddenly befallen him, General Lee seemed to observe everything, however trivial. When a mounted officer began kicking his horse for shying at the bursting of a shell, he called out, "Don’t whip him, Captain; don’t whip him. I’ve got just such another foolish horse myself, and whipping does no good.

https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet....onths_djvu.txt

Another officer commented on this after reading Freemantle's account:

"Note. -- In Fremantle's account he tells of General Lee's reproving an artillery officer for spurring his horse severely when it shied at the bursting of a shell. The officer was my ordnance officer and acting adjutant, Lieutenant F.M. Colston, now of Baltimore, and the shying was not at the bursting of a shell, but, just at that time there was a loud cheering in the enemy's line, a little on the right, and General Lee requested Colston to ride towards it and discover if it indicated an advance. Colston's horse cut up because it did not want to leave my horse, the two being together a great deal on the march and in the camp. General Lee then spoke to him, as Fremantle narrates; and the cheering turned out to be given to some general officer riding along the Federal line."

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/p...der-gettysburg

One of my pet peeves is the idea that good horsemanship began with "Natural Horsemanship". There have always been excellent riders, who may or may not have been any good at working with horses. There have also been folks who were excellent at working with horses. Interestingly, both Gen Grant and Gen Lee were admired for their ability, not just as riders, but as teachers of their horses. Very different men and obviously on opposite sides, but both good with horses.

I'll add that both as men and as generals, neither was as good as some claimed they were nor as bad as others make them out to be. Like most men, they did both good and evil. Both were exceptional generals at times and yet also had very bad days and battles. But...from my reading, they both seemed close to my ideal in how they handled horses.
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post #1847 of 1967 Old 05-17-2019, 03:41 PM
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Have you read “Half-Broke Horses”? I think that you would enjoy it. I really did anyways.
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaam’s Donkey
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post #1848 of 1967 Old 05-17-2019, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knave View Post
Have you read “Half-Broke Horses”?
No, but $5.39 later via Amazon, a bookstore in Utah is mailing me a hardbound copy...and the price includes shipping! I've read "No Life for a Lady" by Agnes Morley Cleaveland. She was born in 1874 in New Mexico & grew up riding and roping sidesaddle.

From a review on Amazon (to save me typing & because I read it some years ago & am fuzzy on the details):

"Growing up on horseback, she and her brother...essentially ran the ranch themselves from the age of 11 or so, with the help of some hands, their hopelessly befuddled, widowed mother...Growing up on horseback, Agnes was not a tomboy in any sense of the word, but just naturally developed all the same riding, roping and other ranching skills as the men, with the possible exception of some feats of brute strength, like wrestling a huge animal to the ground...She worked side-by-side with the men, and no leniency was afforded her..."

My vague memory of it is that it dragged in some places, but overall I enjoyed it. I plan to order "In the Days of Victorio; Recollections of a Warm Springs Apache" soon. There are a half-dozen books on the Apaches in New Mexico and Arizona that I'd like to read. Unfortunately, most are unpopular enough that they are only in hardback and run $30+ used.
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post #1849 of 1967 Old 05-17-2019, 04:30 PM
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I haven’t read that one! I will have to give it a try!

I really liked Half-Broke Horses, but there are moments her personality is a bit much, like Scarlett O’Hara almost. It doesn’t drag ever though.
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaam’s Donkey
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post #1850 of 1967 Old 05-17-2019, 04:38 PM
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As a history buff, I wonder if you have read Traveller. He was General Lee’s horse, and this is his story of the war as told to a cat. It’s not as silly as it sounds, and actually quite wonderful, although sad at times. The author, Richard Adams, also wrote Watership Down.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Q8KXQUM...ng=UTF8&btkr=1
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