We started seeing things from the top of a hill, then got down to where we could do some good. Now let’s look at things from the inside out.
When I was a kid I started riding bulls. I got lots of advice and instruction about how to ride bulls. Lift on the rope, stay off your pockets, get a hold with your feet, reach for the outside horn with your free arm, and don’t let your elbow get behind your shoulder. The problem was that when I nodded my head and the bull jumped into action, I blacked out and did not really remember anything that happened. It took a lot of experience to get to where I could think for myself and analyze what I needed to do to get better. It also took me quite a while to admit to myself that riding bulls is really stupid, and the thrill was not worth the risk … in my opinion.
When I first started going to some horse clinics it was like I had gone to another world of working with a horse. Since I had been riding all my life I could think my way through situations when they got a little fast and furious and being physically able did not hurt anything. After just a little while I thought I had it all figured out. I could ride anything and fix most problems that came up and get horses pretty handy … in my opinion.
I used to change sprinklers on colts and would just put my lass rope around their neck and ride without anything on there head. I really had to get the horse to thinking about me and what I wanted riding this way. At the time I thought this was the best way to ride these horses, and at the time it was. One day I come riding into the yard with nothing on my horse’s head and a barrel racer friend of my wife’s was there and said I was just showing off.
My father-in-law was there and said if he was showing off he would have come in at a lope.
Now that’s humor.
With the horsemanship I was doing things I had seen others doing and more. I could ride my horses with my legs and seat and nothing at all with the bridle. I impressed myself and thought I was about the best horseman in the world. When I was starting a colt I could really do a lot in 2 hours. I would always walk, trot, and lope a colt on the first ride, and most of the time swing my rope and put it under the tail. I really felt like I was good and people that came to a demo that were good seemed to appreciate what I was doing … in my opinion.
I don’t know what happened but my desires changed. I started to see things from what I call “from the inside out.” A fellow I thought a lot of said that many horsemen today were “surface workers.” This is when I thought for me it would be good to work from the inside out.
This is very difficult. It is so much easier to do the physical part. It is so much easier to show people how to be surface workers. To work with animals and to get them to do what you would like, without fear or resentment from the animal is what I am talking about. You may not impress other people, and some will not get what you are doing. I am not sure if some will understand what I am talking about.
This is a real personal. What level you want to get is up to you. I feel there is a point when this becomes un-teachable, and you must learn it with experience and reflection. For me this is what I must do to become the best stockman possible. I can’t stand it when animals are in trouble. I feel we should try to figure out how to get animals we work with to do what we want with them not suffering mentally or physically.
I do things much differently now than I have in the past. First I saw things from the top of the hill. I liked what I saw so I got to where the action was and learned and gained experience. I have decided to really reach the next level I had to see things from the inside out. I am getting so much satisfaction out of this level. I think there may be more levels, but I am still searching.
Ego, anger, impatience, competition, and laziness will keep you from achieving your highest level. Overcome these and work on things from the inside out. Be the real best you can be, not just a surface worker, and you will reach a new level working with animals.
This is not an opinion, this is a fact.
~ Curt Pate