Friday, May 9, 2008
The world spins faster these days than it ever has. We crave instant gratification, quick fixes, information at our fingertips in a split second. Those who understand the nature of balance are reminding us that sometimes slow is better.
You may have heard about the Slow Food movement that started in Italy and has spread around the world. They advocate taking time to enjoy your food by avoiding fast food restaurants, giving old-fashioned attention to growing and cooking food and eating what is seasonal and locally grown. I was very intrigued when I learned about it, and by following their suggestions, I think I’ve improved the way my family eats and enjoys food together.
In searching for answers to take care of my aging mother, I came across a new book called “My Mother, Your Mother”, by Dr. Dennis McCullough. He coined the term “Slow Medicine”, which offers advice on how to take the time to make decisions and create living situations that are uniquely caring and best for the elderly patient. He models his recommendations on the Slow Food Movement.
So, I decided that I am in favor of the Slow Training approach to working with horses. With all the recent news about the accidents and deaths on the racing and cross country courses, over and over it appears that people are starting horses too young and pushing them to go too fast.
I deliberately waited to start training Siete until she was three years old, teaching her good manners and groundwork and then, letting her live in a herd to learn from other horses. I wanted her to grow both physically and psychologically to be ready to be ridden. She’s had a total of almost a year of professional training and riding. This month, she’s going to be six years old, and I admit, I’ve been fretting that I’m not riding her yet. I’ve been feeling guilty and putting pressure on myself to move faster. But really, what’s the reason? It’s not like I’m ignoring my horse. In fact, our relationship has improved so much over the last six months that I’m really pleased. No deadlines, I tell myself.
Impatience is a hard habit to break. When I was younger, I missed a lot of great moments by wishing I was already moving on to the next great moment. Going slow allows you the time to understand, to heal, to accept and to enjoy. I’ve watched Siete grow as we both go through this training process together, and I’m continuing to grow along with her.