All my life I’ve been called hard-headed, sometimes as a compliment, other times not. Over the last several years I’ve worked hard to overcome this trait, one I consider to be a defect of my character. I’m better than I used to be, but from time to time my ego still enjoys taking control of my reason.
If you’ve followed my blog for a bit, you know I have a beautiful paint horse, Smooch. Along with God, my family and my dogs, Smooch is the love of my life. He’s quite interesting. What I enjoy most about him is what I’ve been told is true about horses in general; my horse is a mirror to my soul. Smooch reflects all of me, my people-pleasing and desire to learn, how I want to run off when things get overwhelming, and the importance of the herd. Smooch is affectionate, pushy, demanding, curious, loves treats and most of the time he seems to like me pretty well.
Smooch will also fight me with everything he has if I’m teaching him something in a way he doesn’t understand. Of course, I want to be perfect, also a character defect. Over time I’ve learned I’ll never be a flawless wife, mom or business woman, but somehow I still expect myself to be a consummate trainer, though I’ve only been working with Smooch for a year or so. AND he’s the first horse I’ve trained with.
Lately we’ve been working on bending, also called flexion. An orange flag is my training aid, but I’m pretty sure if you ask Smooch, he’ll tell you it’s a fire-breathing dragon bent on devouring him. In other words, Smooch is crazy-scared of the flag. Since it’s a training tool I’ve recently started using, I’m clumsy with it at times. Not so my husband, Mike. He’s very adept with the flag, with training techniques and reading our horses. He doesn’t see himself this way, but he has an equine affinity I lack. I’ve had to get used to him being better with the horses than I am. It hasn’t been easy.
Sunday we were down at the barn, me with Smooch, Mike with his Appaloosa, Geronimo, and our daughter Grace who has an American Standardbred, Bella. After we’d saddled up and gotten all our training tools together, we headed out to the arena. I wasn’t ten minutes into my session with Smooch before I realized I still don’t have the technique right. So I did what I used to hate to do…ask for help. Over comes Mike who takes the lead rope in one hand, the orange fire-breathing dragon in the other and proceeds to work Smooch like a pro. It used to bother me in the beginning. I resented Mike’s abilities and felt inferior to him. But after 23 years of marriage, I understand we both have unique skills. I simply had to learn to yield to help. And in doing so, Smooch and I were better for it.
The same lesson was presented to me time and time again when running my company. I learned some pretty cool things over time, like how to tell a customer, “I don’t know,” when she would ask something I couldn’t answer. But I would follow that statement up with, “Let me do some research and get back with you.” It’s how I learned. Sometimes the lesson came from the Internet, sometimes from people in my industry or from friends in business, including Mike.
I long ago learned I’ll never know everything. When my head is telling me I should, I know my ego has taken over. At that point I take a step back, say a prayer, make a call or run to the store next to mine. I simply yield to help. It’s a source of strength today, one I’m grateful for.