By Steve Stevens
It is never the horses fault: Learning how to take responsibility.
I know I have been bad about this in my life. How easy is it when the going gets tough, when things aren’t working, when we have had a string of bad luck, when there seems to be a road block at every turn to blame everyone and everything else under the sun for our downfall. It’s easy and sometimes it can keep us trudging through the oncoming storm. At some point, if we don’t sit back and look at ourselves and what we could have done or could be doing differently, we will be doomed to repeat it. Sure, for a little while things might let up and get a little better, but if we never have culpability it will rear its ugly head again, guaranteed. Unlike a hard job with mean or non-understanding employees, a bad relationship or wasted opportunities in life, the horse never had a choice whether he wanted to be with you.
We decided that we would own, ride or work with the horse. That is why it is important for us to remember these six words IT IS NEVER THE HORSE’S FAULT. Sure your horse might be unruly, buck, tear stuff up, be aggressive or be too lazy. But just remember, he didn’t come knock on your front door and ask you to take all your wisdom and teach him to do things he already knows how to do when left alone in his own herd environment. See, a horse knows how to walk, trot, canter, stop, back up and be a horse in his most perfect way, left untouched. It is when the human tries to make him do these things that can often create a misunderstanding.
To get a connection with softness, the horse has to learn to trust our intentions. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Stevens)
On a regular basis I see people hit or yell at their horses or turn red when a horse won’t stand still for them to get on. They yank, pull and give evil looks when their horse won’t lead where they want to go. They pout and belittle the horse when the horse kicks out or bucks when they try to ride them. Imagine if while we are living our cozy little life drinking our non-fat latte, playing angry birds on our phone while watching “The Bachelor,” someone walked into our house, put a rope around our neck and drug us to another place then whipped on us to run circles or barked at us when their colored stick didn’t make us do a perfect plie or Grand jete. No matter our mood or physical being, we were expected to know exactly what they were thinking whether they were good communicators or not.
If we did not understand, we would get poked in the side by a piece of steel. It is important for you to put yourself in a horse’s hooves for a few minutes to understand that it is not his choice to be the human’s 24 hour entertainment toy. Why is this all good for the human to understand? See, when I am working with a horse I practice the theory that it is never his fault. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t make mistakes, sure he does, but what I want you to do is have you ask yourself what you can do better to help him understand what you are asking of him. Take responsibility, remembering it is not his choice to be in this situation. When you are having trouble with an exercise or even if the horse is being aggressive, have you put all the work and effort in, studying and understanding horses? Are your timing, rhythm and balance up to par with the level of the horse? Are you willing to ask for help from someone who may know more and be humble enough to listen?
It’s important to always think of the horse’s perspective. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Stevens)
When we look at things from these perspectives and truly want to become a better horseman or horsewoman, we have to take full ownership of our responsibility to the horse and more importantly to ourselves. It is ok to realize we don’t know everything. The best horsemen I have ever known who had trained horses for years didn’t even think they scratched the surface in learning what there is to learn about horses. Now take the horse out of the picture. I am sure you are not this person, but how many of you know someone who thinks they know it all about everything and anything? Certain people after thirty hours of studying something seem to think they know more than someone who has dedicated forty years to said thing.
Have you ever offered experienced advice to someone and literally seen them shut down at the mere subtle information? Have you ever known someone who blames everyone else for their downfalls? Well, believe it or not, that is all of us in some form or another. Some people are worse than others, but we all have those moments; it is our human nature. If we practice overtime when we are working with the horse, if we can come at him from a place of humility and ask ourselves what we can do better, we condition ourselves in life to step back and look at ourselves in every moment, situation and experience.
We need to hold ourselves to high regard in the way we challenge our responsibility to others and to ourselves. Imagine if you looked at everyone, no matter their flaws, through their eyes and their intentions and said, “What is the best way I can help and support them?” If we all did this I believe we would be a much more connected species. Next time you work with your horse, truly ask yourself if you are communicating with the best of your abilities; does he understand of which you are asking him. Is he reacting because he is scared or confused and are you giving him honest and realistic goals?
When you start working with the horse from this point of view, it can be quite frustrating because at first everything you ask of yourself will seem wrong. It sucks to look at and judge yourself but within your practice, your relationship with horse and human will grow exponentially. Horses will flock to you and so will people. Allow the horse to give you the gift of ownership, humility and responsibility.
Noble Research Institute Expands New Program Offering Farmers and Ranchers the Essentials of Regenerative Ranch Management
The educational program has been expanded to three new locations, empowering ranchers and farmers to monitor and improve the health of their land, livestock and livelihood through regenerative principles.
ARDMORE, OK–September 12, 2023 – Noble Research Institute announced the expansion of Essentials of Regenerative Ranching, a new educational program designed to help ranchers enhance and restore the land, making it more resilient and reaching livestock grazing goals through regenerative management. Essentials of Regenerative Ranching provides producers with practical tools, hands-on experience and guidance to make data-driven decisions to decrease costs and improve profit.
The Essentials of Regenerative Ranching course has been expanded to three new locations in Texas and Oklahoma. Registration is open now at www.noble.org/essentials. Seating is limited, so early registration is recommended.
College Station, Texas
October 17 – 18
O.D. Butler, Jr. Animal Science Complex
Noble Research Institute
October 31 – November 1
Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center
“Program participants gain working knowledge and experience of monitoring and improving the health of their soil, grazing livestock more strategically and making informed financial decisions,” said Hugh Aljoe, Noble Research Institute’s director of ranches, outreach and partnerships. “We use a mix of classroom and field work to send producers home with the tools they need to begin making changes on their ranch.”
Farmers and ranchers navigate uncertainty from weather, fluctuating market prices and escalating costs of inputs. Many producers are seeking new tools that offer greater control and reduce their operational uncertainty. Through this course, ranchers and farmers will calculate their financial situations, determine initial stocking rates, carrying capacity and grazing goals.
“The course is well-suited for ranchers of all experience levels and all types and sizes of operations,” Aljoe added. “No matter your situation, this program will transform the way you think about your ranch.”
The Essentials of Regenerative Ranching program allows producers to overcome obstacles, become more informed problem-solvers and increase the productivity of their grazing lands. By participating in this program, ranchers join a community of like-minded producers who are shaping the future of ranching and leaving a lasting impact on their land and families. “If I had known what I learned in this course when I started my regenerative journey, I could have avoided some key mistakes,” said Tana McCarter, a rancher, and Essentials attendee. “I left with the tools I needed to monitor my soil health and financial progress. I’ll now have the right data to make informed decisions on how to meet my regenerative goals.”
Noble Research Institute is an independent nonprofit agricultural research organization dedicated to guiding farmers and ranchers in applying regenerative principles that yield healthier soil, more productive grazing land, and business success.
At Noble, researchers, facilitators and ranch staff work together to share with farmers and ranchers the skills and tools to regenerate the land in a profitable manner. Noble is focused on the regenerative management of the nation’s grazing acres, which directly impacts pasture and range environments, wildlife, pecan production, and livestock production. Regenerative management recognizes that each decision made on the ranch impacts the interactions of the soil, plants, water, animals, economics and people. Noble’s 14,000 acres of working ranch lands provide a living laboratory on which to demonstrate and practice regenerative principles and ideas to deliver value to farmers and ranchers across the U.S.
By Jesse Kader
Comfy and keep it western. That’s the name of the game this month. It’s hot and who wants clingy clothing? This jumpsuit is perfectly comfortable and relaxed without forfeiting the fashion. Dress it up or keep it casual. See this and more at www. jessesjewelz.com.
Land Market Report: June Land Sales
By Jared Groce
Higher temperatures mean lower interest in looking at land, and this summer is no exception. We have been suffering through some very hot and humid days lately, and most folks are not interested in getting out in the heat to look at land. While there is still ample demand, things tend to usually slow down in July and August as the temps rise and families are busy with summer plans. Developers and investors don’t usually take a break though, and they are still looking for the perfect place to park their money. Prices are still level as they have been all of 2023 with no major drops or rises in average prices per acre. Try to stay cool and hydrated, and as always, “Get some dirt on your hands!”
To read more, pick up a copy of the August issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.
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