Namaste is a Sanskrit word -which means it’s very old. Most translate it to some version of “The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.” There is so much in a name.
Namaste is also an easy-on-the-eyes, young, Friesian-Arab gelding with a big dressage heart. I have known him for about 5 years and he happens to be for sale now (sadly and reluctantly) for financial reasons. He is a very good boy.
I never think that trainers talk enough about respect. Riders can confuse love for respect. We all love horses, that is where our equine journey first began. That love is never questioned -but sometimes it can confuse our respect for horses.
Respect is a constant question for humans. Not all of us inspire respect and we don’t really demonstrate it well towards elders or children. Sometimes the ones we love the most we show the least actual respect for -I think animals frequently fall into that category.
Conversely, respect is the very foundation of horse reality and nothing less. Horses (and donkeys) communicate respect eloquently and fluently -learning it with their first steps. If horses feel some version of love, it carries much less importance to them. Respect is the language and currency of the herd.
When ugly americans walk into the barn and refuse to speak the native language -things get complicated.
It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions. ~Mark Twain
Love may speak in apples and carrots but respect raises the level of conversation to include personality, history and possibility. Respect is not demeaning or nagging, and it is true vulnerability to understand another -outside of our own assumptions of who they are. In the best sense, respect is when we trust a horse to be responsible for his half.
Respect brings out the highest behavior in our horses and in our selves.
That brings me back to Namaste. I have given a couple of riders lessons on him, but lately I have been riding him to help with the sale. He isn’t complicated and like every other horse -he knows how to make transitions, he has been doing them his whole life.
Namaste doesn’t need me to teach him much but he does require me to listen and ride with respect and clean leadership. I respect him enough to ask for his best work. Namaste likes understanding and prefers manners in his humans. He and I share a standard that makes us both better. My wish for him is to find a new owner who respects him as much as I do.
I hope horses like Namaste will continue to school me in respect. Love is a good start, but when we converse in mutual respect, we are invited into the very heart of a horse.
Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.