Lessons From Nursing
For those of you who aren’t aware, in my previous life I was a nurse. As much as I loved the practice of nursing and caring for patients and their families, working for the health system is not without it’s challenges and shift work takes a toll. Despite enjoying my career, I couldn’t ignore that my focus was always with my horses. I have chosen to follow my passion and dreams and take the leap into the horse world.
Concepts From Nursing
I am finding myself more and more drawing parallels between the two careers. In nursing, there is a concept that the craft of nursing is both a science and an art. The science of medicine, anatomy, physiology, pharmaceuticals and monitoring vital signs. And the art of caring for people, often at their worst and in their most vulnerable state. There is also the development of a nurse ‘radar,’ an awareness and feel that comes with experience, the gut feeling that tells you a patient is in trouble as soon as you step into the room. Experience also tells you that each individual has unique needs, with unique responses to treatment.
Concepts in Horsemanship
In a similar way there is a science and an art to horse training. There are methods and theories and techniques that you can study and learn, there is even scientific literature delving into some practices in the horse world. You can study anatomy, physiology, psychology and movement. This is the science. Then there are the things that you won’t learn in a book, that you only learn by doing, that you only learn through experience. The timing and feel that you develop to communicate with a horse. If you’re patient enough and spend enough time paying attention to the little details, you begin to listen to and understand them too.
You can read a horse and feel when their mind and body are engaged, you can see the smallest amount of try and reward it, even if it doesn’t look like it is supposed to. You understand the horse as a sentient being with his/her own thoughts, and their own unique responses to pressure or pain. You develop a radar to tell you when something isn’t right for the horse, even if you can’t quite put your finger on it. You know that horses aren’t robots and that what has worked for one horse before may not work on the next, and that it can be the most rewarding problem solving challenge.
Horsemanship is the greatest and most addictive craft.