What makes you worthy of respect in this world?
Respect can mean something different to everyone.
Maybe you deserve respect because you work hard.
You love a lot.
You give more.
But what if you are demanding respect...
Can you really dictate who must give you respect, because you are worthy of it?
By your own tone and recognition?
To me that is the complete opposite of what respect is.
Respect is earned.
It is given to you freely by others; not taken from them.
The same is true with our horses.
You cannot force a horse to respect you with a stick.
You can't demand his attention, his love, his dependance.
The same is true in our hearts.
You cannot force someone to see you the way you see yourself.
You can't demand people to stop their own thoughts, and only hear your own.
Creating a respectful attitude is hard work.
Being open minded, loving, observant and level headed takes a lot of mindfulness.
A lot of try.
I have fought a lot in my life to try and win respect from those I have always looked up to.
Coaches, bosses, people who I thought worthy of my respect.
Those who I worked hard for, bled for, cried with, cleaned up messes for....
And at the end of so many of those stories, I have found one big hole in my heart.
And it dawned on me, in the dust of all of this silly competitiveness that has been thrust upon me;
That I was trying to force those people to see me.
When all they could see was themselves.
And when I kept trying to paint myself into that picture; I would get washed out.
I see this happen with students and their horses often.
We try so hard to get them to see us, to feel our hearts, to see our try...
But in the process of that so very left brained try; we lose what is most important.
To just feel.
To just be.
In this one moment.
It is so healing.
We create the world around us which is respectful.
It shines respect out; so respect will come back in.
Our family here has a moral standard.
If our horses are not standing on grass, drinking clean water, eating daily fresh hay and socializing with their herd mates... we are not doing our job.
That idea continues to get me in trouble.
It sounds like I am condescending, I am calling people out.
But the truth is that if that statement offends you, or forces you to look at your own situation with a new light.
I'm glad it stirred in you.
I hope it inspires you to make change for your horses.
I hope it inspires you to go outside and do everything for them.
Because there is no respect that I cherish more, than that of my horses seeing me as their caregiver, their mother, their provider. And not because I forced them into it with a stick.
Because I lulled them to sleep with my touch,
I brought them fresh hay each day,
I cleaned their paddocks instead of going for a ride,
I washed their wounds,
I soothed their aching muscles,
I provided them shelter,
I provided them dry grassland,
I gave them a home.
I take the greatest pride in their healthy living to the best of my ability and resources.
And that is something no one will ever take from us.