Saturday, February 27, 2010

Obsession with Time

As I write this, Hawaii is under a tsunami alert, the result of a massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile. Our thoughts are with our island friends as they prepare for the worst.

Shooting a program last summer about the wild horses of Waipio Valley on the Big Island, I spent a day with native Hawaiian, Charlie Anderson. A gentle bear of a man with sun-bronzed skin, a tangle of curly black hair and twinkling blue eyes, Charlie grew up taro farming in that sacred and remote valley. He plans to retire there at 40 to live a simple, off-the-grid life with his young family.

To make that happen, Charlie now works 12-hour days at his landscaping business in town. Time is important to Charlie but it does not rule him. He remains deliberate but unhurried in all he does.

This is a good way to be with horses, too. Just as the typical horse is obsessed with safety, the typical human is obsessed with time. Before I can fairly ask a horse to give up his obsession, I must be willing to give up mine.

As guiding principles go, “letting it take the time it takes” is a particularly good one, but we can’t just snap our fingers and change our attitudes about time. And we don’t have to. Sometimes in life it’s okay to pretend. It’s okay to pretend to be interested in what someone is saying. It’s okay to pretend to like the boss’s wife’s cooking. It’s okay to pretend we don’t care how long it takes to load the horse in the trailer. Invariably, pretending we don’t care about time speeds things up. What’s more, the subconscious mind doesn’t realize we’re pretending and before long the feelings become genuine.

Ray Hunt said: “You’re not working on your horse. You’re working on yourself.” Coming to grips with our time obsession is a great place to start.



Angele La Francesa said...

Time indeed is a factor suppressing human mental health and behavior. Not long ago, I was at a gate in an airport traveling to see my family in Idaho.
I was waiting for the announcement to board the plané. A man sitting a few seats away from me, was focusing on one of his elaborate cell phone with internet, videos, audio and recording capabilities. He was holding this small device which was as a tiny as pocket agenda. I could not keep my eyes off of him. He was displaying this grin and tic probably due to stress. I imagined he was a businessman of some sorts who could not relax under the pressure. It seemed to me that he felt that he had to keep contact with his colleagues by sending text message on his cell.
I remember I thought "What a shame. He just could take this waiting time to board the plane to relax and meditate or just read a magazine to get his head off of work"
Suddenly the thought of not have so much money wasn't an issue anymore.I flet that my life was so much richer than is and much much more pleasant!"

Ron said...

Rick, I wonder if, while on your journey to enlightened horsemanship, you ever stopped to ask: Really? Is that really true, or does it just sound good? Is that really what is happening, or does it just elicit an emotional response that makes the audience feel good? It seems that all of our TV trainers and authors have their own pet phrases, slogans, sayings and gimmicks that help to sell what so many are buying. I have to ask questions like, do horses really have 2 brains, do they really have a thinking side? Really, can anyone prove that? Does getting them to move their feet really do anything, or is it really something else? If you are always light with your hands, will he really get trained? I think if you are always light with your hands, he will NEVER learn anything that you want him to know. Their is so much untruth that beginners are falling for, and it usually causes money to change hands. Trust me on this: if the fence never has electricity in it-the horse WILL get out!

Goldenhorse said...

Just read your post Ron. It's true that horses have 2 sides of their brain. The reactive side and the thinking side. They can only learn when they're thinking. When they're emotional/reactive that's when wrecks happen, the prey animal instinct takes over and they just want to survive...I used to interpret this as "stubborn" or any number of other unkind characteristics. When horses are reacting or scared, they're not scared they might get hurt; they're scared they'll get killed!! When I realized that everything changed. You should really get into Parelli Natural Hosemanship. Yeh, there's lots of cute cliches Pat Parelli comes up with but ya know what? It helps ya remember this stuff and you'll develop a relationship where the horse becomes your partner! and really loves your leadership. I'm not even obsessed with competing anymore. It's way more exciting to get their mind and then you realize the horse has so much to offer.

Ron said...

Goldenhorse-Yes, horses have two sides to their brain-their are two sides to almost everything-but one side "thinks" and one side "reacts"? Do they "think" or have "emotions" with one side or the other? I would like to see the research that shows this. For a horse to be afraid that he might get killed, he would have to be able to reason, and, have an understanding of life and death. I don't think they have that ability. I'm pretty sure that the only animal that has an understanding of "self" is the human. Horses learn because their nature is to avoid discomfort, and seek comfort, pure and simple, that's it. Fear is discomfort, and when they are scared of something, they avoid it by fleeing. While they are afraid, they are learning quite well, that if they run away, the scary thing is gone, and they have avoided it. They do learn when they are afraid, it just might not be what you want them to learn.

Ron said...

and-the success of the TV trainers and Clinicians lies in their ability to entertain a crowd, and convince you that they have invented some new and miraculous training method that you must spend your money on. I'm not saying that they are not good horseman, some of them are very good, but their are thousands of trainers around the country being ignored by the masses who are just as good without the dog-and-pony show.

mc said...

Do Horses really have obsessions ?
Humans do. Safety is a primitive "part" of survival instincts that horses display very keenely, especially wild horses. For domestic horses behaviors connected to safty are inversely proportional to a development of trust of their human partner or rider, as the trust/respect bond increases the concern with safty decreases. Parity with safty must be satisfied.

Ron said...

Here is an interesting article if you are really interested in the truth about left brain right brain:

Norman said...

Thanks for sharing

willow hill farm said...

I personally love the pic with you and Charlie and being from the big isle, it is true-things will happen on their own clock. or lack thereof........teehee