Animals teach us so much about ourselves. They teach us patience and kindness, they teach us wisdom and tolerance. They teach us that you cannot use the same techniques for every situation. They teach us to be flexible and adaptable. They make us better people.
All the lessons you learn with your animals are transferable. Lessons from your horses can be applied to your dogs, lessons from your dogs can be applied to your toddler. The experience of having trained another being to do something, will always stand you in good stead. Whether you are training your dog not to jump up, or your horse to a do a better half-pass, many of the principles remain the same.
Animals have the ability to show us our good and our bad, our weaknesses and our strengths. Maybe we are not as patient as we could be, maybe we can be too prescriptive, whatever your flaw (and we all have them!) animals will show you. Because animals can’t tell you what you are doing wrong, you can’t become defensive. Your dog doesn’t say “Gosh you are so intolerant, why are you always like that, you’re such a bad person.” Your dog simply reflects you shouting at it, and makes you see your own behaviour reflecting back at yourself.
Great teachers always show rather than tell. We learn better by being shown. Animals are not judgmental in their feedback, whereas humans find it difficult to give feedback without adding their judgment in. Animals provide us with such a fantastic opportunity to learn more about ourselves. So the next time you think how much your animals cost you, think of the lessons they have taught you, and how much richness and depth they have bought to your life, and suddenly, they will seen cheap at the price!