So I’m looking forward to getting back in the saddle and following a week of doing little more than lying in the sun and making sure my San Miguel beer was cold, you would think I was more than ready. But it appears that the journey of my back has not reached the finish line yet. Which makes me wonder; why do I keep misjudging how my body will cope with new stresses, strains and ailments? Is it because my brain hasn’t caught up with the age of my body? Or has the wear and tear on my body accelerated faster than I am anticipating?
I’m not sure, but thankfully there are a few upsides to the ageing process, one of which is that my brain seems to be able to filter out a lot of fluff and focus on what is important, without the mental dilemmas I would have had years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I never know where my keys are, if I go to Asda without a list I can be found wandering round aimlessly and the kids could really do with their own PA to keep up with their social activities! But as I spent last week ‘people watching’ around a lovely Spanish pool, surrounded by Glaswegians and Londoners, I realised that I had mentally profiled everyone within two days. I knew what they drank, who they were with, their daily routine and for some, I had a fair chunk of their personality weighed up.
Was I right? Well in most cases I suspect I wasn’t too far off the mark, but it made me realise how quickly we can make decisions about certain characteristics in people or horses and by doing this we could miss out on the opportunity for new friendships/partnerships and memories.
I had been thinking about this almost subconscious profiling recently, as I flicked through stud books, looking at a potential suitor for a friends mare. And as I turned the pages – sometimes before I’d even reviewed the breeding – I had decided which ones I did and didn’t like quicker than you can say ‘stud book cover’. This wasn’t done in a conscious way, but I must have a subconscious checklist that my mind reviews without me really acknowledging it; Over at the knee? Long back? Upright shoulder? And the list goes on.
As with people, very often it is difficult to point out to someone what you don’t like, you just know that something in your head isn’t being ticked off properly. The key is to not write a horse off in spite of what you see as a potential ‘flaw’. I know many great horses that not only did they never tick the right boxes, they took the box and stomped all over it.
As I look at Tag – who is now well rounded and relaxed after his holiday – I appreciate his frame, it pleases my eye and now that we have his feet strengthened, I wouldn’t change his conformation at all. A nice thing for me to be able to think and probably a biased view, but isn’t that what it’s all about? Although, if I was assessing him on his mental stability, he might not tick just as many boxes! But from his eyes I know he means well, it just all gets a bit too much for him at times and I think we can all relate to that.
So although I find my body is ageing rather disgracefully, I am enjoying the freedom that comes from knowing what I want and like much quicker, than when I was in my 20’s and 30’s. There’s still a lot to learn and people and horses are always full of surprises, but an open mind that is willing to turn the pages, will make sure I don’t miss out on what’s right in front of me.
#dontjudgeabook #everycoverhasastory #turnthepages #learnfromexperience #experiencetolearn