“Today I spoke with one of the Moms at the yard and she passed an observation that has stayed with me… “You are great to have all these children around all the time and to spend so much time, care and attention on each of them.”
It reminded me of when I was young and overflowing with enthusiasm for anything horse related, I spent every waking extra hour at the barn, stables, yard… Whatever the fashion called it over the years. I distinctly remember the feeling of rushing home from school and, all thoughts of homework cast aside, I scrambled into my ‘riding gear’ and off I set to the riding yard on my trusty bicycle, every pedal action fueling the thoughts in my mind of eventual cross-country or show jumping glory. Later, I upgraded my mode of transportation to my trusty pony Shadow who, to my dismay, my trainer very honestly and I think with no hard feelings, truthfully, labeled useless… As a show-jumper; yes. As a young girls first love… Ah, she remains my favorite and most loved :-)
Either way and regardless of the mode of transportation, I lived for the stables. The smell, the work, the feeling of utter joy at achieving a perfect stable (after painfully clearing every piece of droppings from the bed; my trainer was a strict lady and if I was not personally willing to lie in the bed, how DARE I even suggest her horses would!) It not only made me feel alive, the riding, training and interacting with horses, but also it, daily, willed me to do my best and, often, reach well beyond what I thought I could achieve.
Yes, It was hard work, no doubt about it. It was a HUGE responsibility, but it also taught me so many lessons which, if I was not exposed to such circumstances, I am sure would make the present ‘Me’ a far lesser person. A person who will very verbally tell the children at her yard that leaving the tack / equipment / horse unattended when tired / unsure / wanting to go home was just unacceptable. A person that won’t accept anything but your best effort in the arena. A person that expects a basic use of initiative at all times from all in her company, and a person who demands an unwavering allegiance to the pony or horses best interest from all her ‘little people’ and ‘big people’.
Bringing me full circle to above mentioned Mother’s comments….
I do this, not because of some sadistic sense of satisfaction from ‘young labor’, but rather in the hope that the values of initiative, self-belief and responsibility that were embedded in me twenty years ago (yes, do the maths!) will be transferred into an impressionable and open few who, God willing, will go on and in another twenty years, pay it forward again…
But with more experience, knowledge and confidence that I could ever hope to instill in them….
So today, when at the barn or yard… Look at those little earnest faces. View them as little vessels waiting to be filled with the most wonderful of all that is horses and ask yourself the question, “What life lessons and skills served me best?” and in your answer, there is the beginning to ‘Paying it Forward’.
We would love to hear your experience of ‘Paying it Forward’, whether it be someone who bestowed this gift on you, or how you try to incorporate it into your life now, as a gift for future generations. Tell us your story below in the comments section… You may just inspire someone else to begin paying it forward today!
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