Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's a process

In the interest of disclosing as little history as possible, which would make this a novel rather than a short commentary, I'll just say that I have a strong interest in horses.  It all began about three years ago when one of my sons and his wife enticed me with their horses.  As with all things that capture my starving, attention deficit mind, the interest blossomed into a full-fledged need for a horse, a place to store him and some sort of ability to ride him.  

I have little experience with animals.  Cats have been a part of my life for many years, if they are actually considered participants in lives other than their own.  Oh and we have some koi.  I've never owned a dog although my dad had one once, a long time ago.  The dog only lasted about six months.  He really wasn't suited to our house when I was growing up.  

Buying a horse was really easy.  We traveled south for three hours after seeing one on Craig's List, discussing the fact that you should never ever buy the first horse you see.  Three hours and fifteen minutes after starting south, my checkbook was lighter and I was the proud owner of two horses.

That was when my learning began.  Having a horse is an investment of time and money that probably is better spent on other pursuits, like beating oneself about the head and shoulders with a large piece of lumber.  Vets have to make housecalls because we don't simply load them into the van for a checkup, hay has to be bought early in the year, before supplies run out, sufficient land has to be available for running, grazing and manure (never ever think that manure gets rid of itself).  And there is a time commitment or else you wind up with pasture statues who consume every dime you have without giving back a darned thing.

I love my horse.  He is amazing and magical and the only reason a person these days ever needs to have an equine partner is emotional and not even remotely logical or rational.

Horses are wonderful teachers.  They are.  No, they don't hold classroom hours and the tuition is high but not impossible.  The lessons, though, are all about management and learning and understanding.  I have, in fact, learned much about managing my company and employees.  I've learned about patience.  I have learned how to do something absolutely without expectation of reward, because a horse completely lacks the capacity to 'like' people or things.  They can't joke around, enjoy kisses and hugs, look forward to petting or any of those things that dogs and cats can do.  This is scientific fact, by the way.  Horses have an extremely underdeveloped frontal lobe which is where reasoning and love and playfulness are found.  

Assuming that I have now upset every horse owner who truly believes that their horse loves them, we shall move on. 

Teaching most subjects is pretty darned black and white, except history which apparently no longer exists.  Okay, I'm an older person so I'll say that it used to be black and white.  Some of this Common Core crap covers the whole color spectrum and will be eliminated from this (and any other) discussion.  Moving on here.  

Teaching involves facts, not emotions.  It assumes logical answers to questions.  One answer per question is helpful.  Horses are totally reactive and non-emotional.  They don't reason their way through things, they just answer.  Wrong answers are deadly in the wild.  If you learn to think like a horse, you remove the emotional value from your thought process and the answers, especially when it comes to managing a company or a person, are much more clear.  Rules make more sense.  Systems and processes are much easier to follow.  

I'm stopping right here.  That way there might be more to write in another blog.  Continuity, right?  Speaking of which, I'll have to say something about community again one of these days.


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