As I was saddle fitting a few horses the other day I was speaking to a potential farrier, someone who wanted to get into trimming and shoeing horses and was thinking of taking schooling and an apprenticeship for farriery. He said the only advice he’s been given so far by other farriers was that at some point when you are starting out “you are going to sore a few horses, its inevitable”.
I thought about this for a few minutes. As a therapist, this is always a fear of ours. Manipulating the body, working on injuries, even with our knowledge and training there is always the potential of inadvertently causing pain to our equine patients as we work through the imbalances and issues in their body. So I thought about how I could respond to this, the potential and supposed “inevitability” of soring a few horses. And my response to him was this:
There is the potential of harm in anything we do in life, we can accidentally hurt our horse while out on a casual ride, we can ride in a saddle that is hurting our horse without knowing it, we can say a well meant comment to our friend and have it be taken as a painful criticism, we can fall out of love and break a partners heart, we can have a bad day and lash out with harsh words. There is potential for harm in everything we do, our only way to protect ourselves and others from this is with our intent. Intent is the ruler of the universe. It protects us no matter how we are interpreted. Intent and integrity go hand in hand.
Intention- purpose or attitude toward the effect
of one’s actions or conduct
You cannot eliminate the possibility of hurting someone, it will always be there, but you can control whether the hurt is intentional or accidental and minimize the effect with your intent. With an authentic heart and pure intentions, you can always be forgiven. As long as we are providing our service, working with our horses, and living our lives with the best of intentions in mind, we are doing our best. When we as human beings, conduct ourselves with integrity and our intentions are honourable, our horses will know. They will understand that we are not trying to cause harm. They will forgive us for our mistakes and inadvertent pain.
Integrity- adherence to moral and ethical principles;
soundness of moral character; honesty
As for us practitioners, whether it be coaches, farriers, veterinarians, competitors, therapists or any person inside or outside the horse world, we cannot be expected to be perfect. We are human after all. We cannot guarantee no harm and no mistakes. All that we can promise to our clients and friends, is that we conduct ourselves with pure intentions and integrity. And with the right intentions our work will go further, we will have greater effect, we will cause less harm and we will make fewer mistakes. And the mistakes that we do make, we will be able to own up because we are human, and they are bound to happen. But as long as our intentions are positive, pure and integral, then that is the best we can do. That is all that anyone can ask of us. And that will show through to both our humans and our horses.