Horse at Work

My horse is not my friend. He’s not my dog; he’s not the boss. He’s not my dinner either, although I do respect his concern about that.
He’s my employee.
I would like to think he’s an honest and loyal employee. I’d like to think he’s happy to get up and go to work, he’s cheerful in his job, and he looks forward to every shift with enthusiasm.
It’s a pretty good deal really. There’s a health plan that includes dental, chiropractic and massage therapy, steel-toed shoes for workplace safety, and rubber mats in his stall so that he is comfortable. He’s got room and board, scheduled days off (never a statutory holiday though) and his shifts run from half an hour a day to several hours for an event. Overtime is paid in carrots.
I expect him to work as part of a team, and that includes making valuable contributions. If he believes there may be ice under that snow, I promise to listen. If he is sore, I will try to find out where and why and do my best to make him more comfortable.
My end of the deal is to take endless lessons to ensure I’m well balanced in the saddle and give clear,consistent signals so that his job is easier. I need to take into consideration his mood and health, while not allowing either to become an excuse to not try.
I need to respect that he may just have had a domestic dispute with another herd mate before I got there, and his concerns may not be about me just because I’ve decided to show up at some particular time that is hopefully not his daily nap time.
I need to find a position with his employment that suits his skills, even if it’s not the one I had in mind.
He can expect to be fed, sheltered, exercised and groomed for good health, and to be able to play and hang out with friends.
Fences will dictate that he can’t come and go as he pleases. There have to be walls and office cubicles; there must be fair rules that will make him feel secure.
I need to be the boss, since his decisions may not always be in my best interest as he navigates his way through my world, a long mindset way from the open range of his ancestors.
It’s not a free ride but it is a rewarding career and the retirement package is pretty good too.

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