I often feel discouraged as I am trying to wrangle my kids, like maybe I have lost my touch or something. I used to be able to make 1000 pound animals obey with just a stern look or or light pressure to a shoulder. What happened? Why was working with the big beasts so much easier then working with my small beasts at home? The reality is that training horses isn’t much different then raising children!
Horses and children have basic needs for food & shelter, exercise, rest, routine and love; without meeting these needs you are stuck dealing with an angry beast. (Or in my case two angry beasties!) So simple right? But how do you meet them all everyday?
Food and Shelter
It’s a basic need of … well just about every living thing. I would have never feed my equine athlete any less them the best performance feed I could afford, so why would I feed my kids processed crap all day. I have notice how much happier my children are when they eat real foods for 90% of their diet. We do have the occasionally ice cream or fruit snack and I won’t deny them of that… the same way I would feed my horse a treat after a good day. Shelter for horses is definitely different than it is for humans, but the basis is the same a safe place to live.
Exercise & Rest
Everyone know that kids need exercise, but I think we sometimes forget how important it is. If you have ever seen a horse being lunged to “Get his kicks out” before he is worked then you totally know what I mean. Lunging a horse is his time to stretch his legs before you get on and out him to work. Lunging is also used to exercise a horse if you are not able to ride him. I lunge my kids before we sit to do any kind of craft or book activities, it give them a chance to get their sillies out before we need to be still and focused. Resting is huge for both children and equine, if given enough time to rest you will have happy horses and kids.
What can I really say about routine? It is so important to have a daily routine to stick with. Horses and kids fuction best with routine. Knowing meal times, rest times, play times, and work times make life easier for every one!
Horses love snuggles and kisses just as much as kids do. It’s true! Making time everyday to just love my kids the way they like to be loved is a top priority. Showing a horse love could be back scratches, belly scratches, a good, grooming, or some hand grazing, they each have their own personality just like children. My kids are cuddlers but all kids are different.
I feel that sometimes we make parenting so hard, we feel the need to follow some script. Sometimes we miss the basics. I relate to the horses because it was (and still is) my passion from an early age. I have never felt more at home then in the company of the large beasts. I felt no self doubt about the way a cared for them. I never once wondered if I was going to ruin them for life. I am working towards feeling that way about my children.
Have you ever compared your parenting to a hobby or job you love?