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The patience project...

One eyed ex-racehorse grazing at Pippsway Classical Natural Horsemanship Wellington Somerset near Devon

When I arrived at Pippsway, it’s fair to say, as a person I was a tad short on patience. In fact that song ‘I want it all and I want it now’ could have been written about me! I always wanted to get to the end. The end of a meal, the end of a book, the end of a movie. I wanted to know how it was all going to turn out. I wanted to lose weight quickly, I wanted to be fit the very moment I did any exercise. All or nothing and now please! The trouble is when you live like that you miss out on an enormous amount of pleasure and growth and rarely achieve anything. You’re going so fast that you miss the journey and the lessons within it and have given up long before anything has a chance to come to fruition.

When I came to Pip’s yard, my true goal was to be going round a cross country course like a bat out of hell soonest. When I was younger if I wasn’t jumping fences on my horse I was, frankly, bored. Yes, this time around I wanted to learn properly but it’s true to say at that point I had no comprehension of what properly would entail and perhaps more importantly how, when you are truly connected with your horse, just being in their presence is reward enough. You don’t actually need to be doing anything to feel that profound joy and connection!

Pip and her horses have given me the gift of patience. I’m a work in progress of course and indeed it has been understanding that for as long as I am on this earth I will always be a work in progress, that there is no end to this learning, that has brought me to this place of being present and having the patience to allow life to unfold and really experience every step of this wonderful journey.

Of course it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. There are lessons that are tough to learn. There can be transformations in a moment. Other things take a great deal of time. Understanding that all of this is ok, trusting in the process and having the faith that as long as you are moving in the right direction the speed at which you do so is unimportant, is key.

As Pip once said to me ‘there are no shortcuts for the rider or the horse’. Now I understand that if you try to take a quick route to a result it will undermine everything you are trying to achieve and will limit how far you can go, I have completely let go of trying to get to any particular point. Instead I am applying myself to each step of the path that I am presently on. Some days at the yard I feel I have learned a great deal and taken a huge leap. Other times seem to pass where it is practise, practise, practise and just trying to maintain my place on the path is a challenge; then suddenly we’re off again moving forwards.

So, I now consider my journey of learning the Art of Horsemanship as my patience project. The best thing about it is, I now know that when you slow down and immerse yourself entirely in this moment and are at peace with where you are, every bit of learning is as rewarding as going around a cross country course with your hair on fire. In fact more so. It’s existing on a completely different plane with your horse. It is a gift!

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