Horse Sense

In my last column, I brought forth the possibility that horses could be competitive with machines again.

The reason for this is the ability for horses to work on their own without anyone driving them. I do not believe this was the horsemanship of hundreds of years ago, but rather of thousands of years ago. It is possible for multiple teams of horses to work without anyone driving them.

Technically, it would take only two people to receive teams and redirect them. Each person would be at opposite ends of the fields. Older horses would be teamed up with younger horses to train them to their level of responsibility.

They probably had simpler harness systems for getting horses ready and quitting at the end of the day. I do not believe that the Amish would be interested in this because they are too concerned with the tradition of the recent past and do not seem to be as concerned with efficiency.

I do believe that efficiency was very important in societies that had conquered the work  ethic and had achieved a remarkable  balance in life.  In other words, it is not a given that people were by in large “miserable” in times past. When they focused in on God’s parameters for pure, raw skill in their endeavors, they did well – rich or poor.

I believe that the only real difference between the Godly rich and poor was how many resources they handled. Rich or poor, they all knew that the richest time of the day was early in the morning. They also knew that it was just as healthy for the rich man to sweat as the poor man. The happiest people were happy in their work much more so than spending the income from their work.

In fact, many truly rich people started out and may even continue today living poorer than many poor people because they get greater satisfaction seeing their money being productive and creating jobs for others than consuming it themselves.

The next best thing was to be productive in their play. Since God created us all to be ultimately happy through movement, he wanted us to hit our volunteer time just as hard as our work time. Rich or poor, if they were efficient in their work, then they had plenty of play time, or volunteer time. This is the fertile soil to create more balance in life. This is also the fertile field for excellent horsemanship. Great horsemanship can give the best example of the work ethic – “work horse” – and also play – “horse play.”

When there is enjoyment involved, then we get the self-work that makes the horses valuable as well as the people that have worked these horses. Next time I will focus on three things that help a horse become a self-worker: Motivation based on rest at critical times and places, motivation through smoothness or flow and positive peer pressure.

Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot trimming specialist from Raymondville. Email:

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