I’m no fortunate one or anything like that, but my parents sent me to horseback riding summer camp when I was younger. Their thinking was that I could either waste a few months with the pyromaniac kid down the street or learn to ride at a working farm. After all, the prospect of a broken leg was way more attractive than juvie and a mark on my permanent record.

Horseracing in general – the Kentucky Derby in particular – has seen a fair share of controversy over the years. While I understand that abuses occur, I would be lying if I said that I never feel a jolt of excitement when the horses take off. Unexpectedly missing the Derby, I’ve been thinking about horses and what we can learn from working with them:

1. It’s all right to let go sometimes. Before I even sat on a horse, it was heavily emphasized that a horse is not a car. Horses have bad days, horses can be moody and, above all, horses are living creatures who must be treated with respect. While it’s the rider’s job to exert a certain amount of control, there is nothing wrong with allowing the horse to have her/his way, too. After a trek through the woods, if a horse wants to stop and have a drink or chew on the undergrowth, the rider should allow it. Just like non-riding life, not everything revolves around our own desires; those around us have needs, too. Sometimes, let the horse lead and remember that every relationship is give and take.

2. Don’t get mad at the world for being the world. I rode a horse named English Dolly for years. She could be violent and she could be vicious, but once we figured each other out, we got along great. I was warned that, while saddling, she tended to hold her breath so that her saddle fit looser. I didn’t double-check my work or Dolly and fell right off when the saddle did. Tending to my injuries (at Duke’s Ranch, the lessons were painful, but they stuck), my counselor asked what I had done wrong. He was silent as I blamed Dolly, the saddle and the terrain. I was rewarded with a smile when I finally recognized that the accident was caused by own shoddy workmanship. We don’t live in a nicey, nicey Disney world and when we do something silly, reality is there to slap our noses. If we’re taken advantage of by an internet scam or a too good to be true investment opportunity, we must take responsibility for our own missteps. It’s up to us to protect ourselves because, while “they” aren’t necessarily out to get us, it doesn’t pay to make it too easy for them.

3. If you’re offered the chance to ride without a saddle, take it. After I fell off Dolly, my counselor decided that I had almost ridden bareback and asked if I’d like to do it the right way. I couldn’t have busted my lip any worse, so I agreed. Galloping with a temperamental, unfettered horse was better than mixing Pop Rocks and Coke. Just because something is scary and out of our comfort zone, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. Of course, I fell off that time, too, but by the end, I was a pro. Learning how to fall is just as important as learning how to stay on.

Education doesn’t end when the school door shuts. The neat thing about living is that, no matter what, everything we experience teaches us something. We just have to pay attention.

Bourke Accounting bookkeepers and tax preparers are always willing to learn from their experiences and they’re always paying attention. Whether it’s a new tax law or an esoteric bookkeeping procedure, you can count on a Bourke Accounting expert to be a never-ending font of knowledge.

Come see us any time. Our number is 502-451-8773 and don’t forget to visit our website at www.bourkeaccounting.com. See you soon!

Written by Sue H.