Do you have an equine village?

By Lizzie Hopkinson

In modern parenting writings, much is talked about the need for a village. The old saying of; “it takes a village to raise a child” is often quoted, sometimes with kindness, sometimes with a tinge of criticism of the lack of connection in the modern world. I believe, to a certain extent, that we need the same for our horses.

It is not just that the different points of views are good for our children or horses, though they certainly are. We all know that a fixed mindset can lead to further problems, when we become too entrenched in believing that our way is the only way. Other people in our village can help show us a different approach, or a different angle which can help our ability to problem solve. Added to which, opened-mindedness is a critical part of a growth mindset which leads to greater resilience. Remember the wisdom held by our elders is respected in many communities across the world.

The village is at its best in times of crisis. And it is in these times that you will feel the lack of a village most keenly. Accidents can happen, we can’t plan for them, we can’t expect them to come at a convenient time, when they suit us. Usually they come at inconvenient moments, when we are already overstretched. But while we can’t plan around them, we can put contingency plans in place.

Ask yourself this, if you suddenly ended up on crutches, who could you ask to take care of your horses? Would your partner? Your friends? Is there someone at your yard that you trust? Would your parents help you, or would your children? I know we don’t want to think about these things, that we want to believe that our lives will be perfect, but accidents happen.

The definition of an accident is: “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.” We can limit our chances of having an accident, by educating ourselves to be mindful around our horses. Not fetching horses in from fields in the dark without a hat, not getting on young horses on windy days without another person on the ground. There are countless ways we can be safe and sensible to limit the capacity of accidents to arise, but we can’t prevent them.

There are so many accidents that we read about, hear about, that are simply accidents. Not preventable incidents, but accidents, and for this we cannot protect ourselves. But we can with the help of a good village be reassured that should something happen, we are not alone. For this is the essence of the village, that knowledge that we are not alone, and there are people to help should the worse happen. So look around you, and make sure that you have an equine village you can count on.

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