When I met Heather Patrick, she could not speak, limped with a brace on one leg, had use of only one arm, weighed about 80 pounds, and ate through a tube. She was past 40 years of age. Yet, she could do something many strong men cannot do–earn trust from big, strong animals to attract them to you.
She teaches us a common belief about horses is false. Many have heard the belief, “you have to show that horse who’s boss or he will run all over you” (or something similar that some people think gives them wisdom or permission to boss or bully animals). This almost defenseless woman was able to do what some strong men cannot do–offer a trusting spirit and attract animals to her in a way that showed they were taking extra care to be gentle with her.
Here’s a new belief for some: most animals are trustworthy and want to be with and please those they trust. If an animal is misbehaving, look in the mirror first–it may be time to improve your training and/or your trustworthiness. If a person is misbehaving with you, look in the mirror first instead of complain, punish, or reject–the answer may come from improving our leadership, our communications, our caring for what is important to them.