Learning to have patience is important to me. Growing up I had a horse named Major that my Uncle Bill bought when I was about 8 years old and I eventually bought this horse from him. I loved him from the moment I saw him. My Uncle Wayne would always warn us kids to be careful on Major because he could get out of hand at times and be a little hard headed. This horse would teach me many things growing up – including learning patience.
I was the youngest in my family and things seemed to be done for me and not necessarily shown to me. So, when I would ride the horse, someone else (usually my brother) caught him, bridled him, and saddled him. When I was about 9 my brother got pretty tired of doing all this for me. I asked him to get Major for me, and he handed me a halter and a bucket with some grain and said “Go figure it out.” I trudged up the field. It seemed like such a long distance and was mostly uphill. I was just sure that Major was going to run from me and I would never get to ride him that day. This was the day I really fell in love with Major though — the day he taught me about patience.
Major saw me coming through the field and I’m sure he heard the grain sloshing in the bucket as he came toward me. When he reached me I put some grain on the ground, and while he ate I told him my dilemma as I stroked and kissed his neck and breathed in his amazing aroma.
It was like he knew exactly what I was saying. He quit eating and just stood there. It took what seemed like an hour for me to figure out which hole on his halter his head went through first. I stood on the bucket, put one arm around his neck and he let me slip that halter right on. I was so proud of myself. I led him to the bunk house where we kept the rest of the tack. He just followed so sweetly.
At the bunkhouse, I grabbed the saddle. This was a little more daunting. I loaded it in the bed of a truck, climbed in the bed, led Major to the side of the truck, and threw the saddle on. I got the cinch as tight as I could and moved on to the bridle. This was a little harder for me than the halter.
Through it all, this horse just stood there like he knew this was something I needed to learn. He was so patient with me. He didn’t get irritated or antsy. He was there for me.
I would guess two hours passed before I was done with this process. When I thought I was done, Uncle Wayne made sure everything was right and tight and I got to ride.
I think of this moment with my precious friend often when I deal with my children. I think of all the new things they need to try and sometimes I just need to be patient, let them try it, and be their support in the end. I’m not the greatest at having patience, but I’ve always kept Major in the back of my mind when I’m having a rough time. This is why learning to have patience is important to me.