This coffee burns as I take a sip, and I should be coding video, or cranking out some pages to somehow close the gap between 2 and 40. But four walls of green chalkboard surround me, and my two-by-two window is tempting me with views of sunshine and perfect riding temperatures outside. Luckily, it’s been cold this spring, so I haven’t been overly motivated to procrastinate by going outside. I have ridden a lot, especially when you consider that more than once, I rolled into class 20 minutes late, covered in horsehair. But it’s much easier when you don’t have to put on 5 layers just to walk to your truck. Now it’s nice out, though, and I have 6 more days before my thesis is due in a nice little bundle on my professor’s desk.
This thesis is a labor of love, inspired by sale horses and colt starting, an excuse to practice natural horsemanship in the name of “research”. (Hey, when you go to school in the city, you gotta do what you gotta do.) It turned into a much more people-focused study of the ways human communication changes as a result of interacting with horses. And I love it, almost as much as I love the horsemanship itself.
It’s because natural horsemanship changes you. It becomes who you are, and the way you relate to others, and the way you treat people you love and people you’ve never met. It changes the way you carry yourself, and the way you handle difficult situations. It teaches you to be fully there and entirely engaged in whatever you’re doing at the time. Sure, your handshake may get a little softer, because of your light touch, or you might catch yourself using the same body language on people that you use on the horses. But it’s worth it, because once a horse works, you have confidence that the other things in your life will work, too. And it’s then that natural horsemanship becomes a lifestyle of compassion and sincerity that can’t quite be replicated by anything else.
So in between the daydreams in my head and the Eric Church in my ears, I’ll get it done, even if it requires an all-nighter or two. I’ll keep writing my fleeting cursive thoughts in the margins as I continue writing, little by little. It’s the only thing standing in between me and graduation, so it’s time to power through.
(Save Some Time To Dream – John Mellencamp)