Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Quittin' Talk

By Thomas Gallagher

It seems, nowadays, that there is this stigma attached to the word "quit". Even talking about it seems taboo. Well, I am going to tell you something you probably haven't heard before. There are two types of quitting: the 'I-give-up-and-no-longer-want-to-try' type of quitting, and the 'that-was-a-good-day-it's-time-to-stop' type of quitting. You don't need to be a genius to figure out which one is better and more socially acceptable. However, this article is not about quitting, but rather what will and should follow after one decides that it's quitting time. I urge you all to listen to what I am about to reveal to you, because my words are important...or at least they will be...someday.

This article is about "quittin' talk". Many of you may be wondering as you read this, "What is this young'un blabbering on about?" Have patience; because I promise you, patience is a virtue that I will circle back to when this is all over. Quittin' talk is the act of engaging in conversation after a hard day's work, regardless of what that work may be. It is important to remember that after you are done flexing your muscles and your ego throughout the day, the brain would also like a little bit of attention.

Not too long ago, I stopped by the arena to give my mother her cell phone, which she had left in her car all day, resulting in a dozen missed calls from who knows who (talk about the need for brain exercise). I strode into the arena looking rather handsome, if I do say so myself (and speaking of ego exercise), and proceeded to hand my mother her phone. It just happened to coincide that I entered the arena when she and her students were just completing the lesson for the day. Seeing them gathered, I decided to strike up a conversation. We engaged in dialogue on a vast range of topics like politics, religion, the meaning of life; who am I kidding, I talked mostly about myself but that's not the point here. The point is that the group of us took the time to wind down from our busy days and just enjoy each other's company and partake in intelligent conversation.

All tom-foolery aside, we must remember that, rather than collapsing in our beds after a hard days work, we should strive to give our minds a breath of fresh air. Case in point: let us enjoy the company of our friends and family and engage in conversation that delves into issues outside of our jobs and whatever activities we spent our whole day doing.

At this point, some of you may be asking "what does this have to do with horsemanship?" or "why is this nonsense in Freedom Farm's newsletter?" Which I shall now answer.

The entire time that my mother, her students and I were enjoyably conversing, the horses, who had just worked so hard, also had a chance to catch their breath and relax. As we know, offering comfort in the appropriate moment is an effective way to educate your horse, but horses also learn while they are relaxing and just hanging out. Have you ever stopped on a good note with your horse, and then found when you got him out the next day that he had somehow connected all the dots over night? Well, it took me 'til well after our conversation to realize that during the entire time, the horses hadn't moved or seemed the least bit displeased with having their riders just stand around and chat. Horses do the same thing with each other; they simply stand together and form natural bonds with one another. It is important for a rider to do exactly that with their horse from time to time, so they too can bond. The point of "quittin' talk" is to take time at the end of the day to connect with those around you, and this goes double for riders and their horses.

So rather than just leading your horse back to the pen or pasture, do them and yourself a favor and just hang around and talk with your fellow riders and friends every now and then. Don't worry; your horse enjoys the time to just stand and bond with you. After all, they are incredibly patient creatures. 
Thomas and friends

(Originally posted July 2014)