This year we’re having our first Easter Contest. We’re heading out with the horses in search for Easter Eggs. Each egg has a name in it, and one might be yours!
As much as Easter is a commercial enterprise with chocolate bunnies and candy eggs, the tradition of Easter is about 2000 years old and honors the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Sacrifice seems a harsh word, and in the case of Jesus it certainly was. In our modern times we are familiar with the word sacrifice and it generally has much lighter meanings.
Sacrifice: To give up something important for the sake of other considerations. – Oxford Language Dictionary
There are many things that we sacrifice in our daily lives. Helping out a friend with a construction project is an example. We sacrifice our time – and perhaps our own projects – to help out someone else. We don’t expect to receive anything in return.
I was in the pasture today with my old horse, Ty. He’s 28 this year and age, arthritis and neurological issues are taking their toll on him. His belly might betray any thoughts that he’s struggling, but he is. Sometimes, like this morning, I just hang out with him. Sometimes a massage; I have a good vibrating massage tool that he just loves. It might take up 30 minutes. It might take up an hour. I could have spent that time building trails or obstacles. I could be riding. I could be crossing something off the ever-growing to-do list.
But I didn’t do any of those things. I spent time with Ty instead. And Ty doesn’t thank me. He doesn’t do anything in return. But I can see that what I do brings him peace. He feels good. I’ve sacrificed my time and projects in order to make a horse feel good and comfortable and I expect nothing from him in return for it. It’s well beyond a simple duty of care.
I think that we have an intrinsic need to care and nurture. And meeting that need allows us to replenish our mental and emotional energy. Because when I spend time with Ty, I feel good because he feels good. Ty is exceptional in his ability to create peace in his space. It’s why the other horses gravitate to him. And to bask in that for a while is somewhat of an emotional necessity for me.
As I was riding Chip yesterday I was thinking about how a successful relationship with a horse involves a lot of tough sacrifices. Who hasn’t sacrificed nights of sleep, walking a colicing horse or dealing with an injury? We change and cancel our plans with other people when our horses require our help. When we train we put aside our ego and set aside our desires to have things work perfectly for us. I’ve had it happen many times where I’ve caught and saddled a horse to go work on something I’ve been excited about but then entirely changed plans because the horse needed something else in that moment.
Sacrifice is not for ourselves. It’s for the benefit of others. Acts that are entirely selfless. Those choices are not always easy, but they are gratifying to our sense of morals and values. Helping, protecting, taking time to understand and listen instead of arguing.
As Chip and I traversed the trails, I thought about how the fundamental pillars of our style of horsemanship are tied to sacrifice. How training a horse is not so much training as it is discovering and meeting their individual needs. Needs that might change from moment to moment. And in that pursuit, we commit ourselves entirely to the success of the horse.
When we work to have our horse achieve greatness, we share in that with them. As partners. And don’t doubt for a minute that our horses know when we’re working to assist and meet their needs. Many horses will try their best when our focus is to support them and quit when they realize we’re rooted in our own ego. One of the biggest realizations I think we can have as horsepeople is this:
What we ultimately achieve with a horse is a product of the effort we expend focusing on their success instead of our own.
Sacrifices we make don’t generally produce immediate, obvious results. But the end product -what we achieve for our horses and ultimately mankind – can be astounding. And often we only see that when we look back on our lives. In the moment they’re sacrifices…but in time they become monuments.
Today in our equine Easter Egg hunt, we spent time with each of the horses. It was a lot of fun and a lot of laughs and the horses shared in all of that. Did we get any work done on the ranch? No. Did we get any training or riding done with the horses? No. Did we enjoy ourselves with our horses? You bet. And I hope that, as you watch this video, you can laugh along with us.
Have a look at the video (click to play it). If your name was drawn by one of our horses, get in touch. You’ve won a free pass to the Horsemanship LIVE! Show AND a video of your choice from our Premium Video Library.
Happy Easter from Amazing Horse Country