Being good Friday, I wanted to write about Easter. I pondered over how Easter fitted into the world of work and what analogies, parallels or connotations I could draw so as so make this Blog didactic. So I Googled things like ‘the history of Easter’ and ‘the origin of Easter eggs’ for inspiration, but nothing really clicked. So I thought about what Easter meant to me and cast my mind back to the Easters of my childhood. Typically what sprung to mind was boiled eggs, Church; and eating ridiculous amounts of chocolate. But still no inspiration flowed as I couldn’t see the parallels between that and the new world of work.  So I dug a little deeper and I asked myself what Easter really meant to me. Surprisingly, the word that came into my head was ‘passion’.

Confused for a moment, I wondered why that was. Could it be that Easter was my favourite holiday as a child, because it was the one day of the year I could eat more chocolate than any human body should be subjected to, without criticism? I certainly do have a passion for (eating) chocolate. Could it be something to do with the passion people show for one another over holiday periods? Was is Christ’s passion that  I am recalling?  I couldn’t really decide, but it got me thinking about my real-life, everyday passion, which is horses.

If I was a trust-fund baby I would spend my days on a farm in the KZN Midlands in my jodhpurs teaching teenagers how to build their self-esteem using this magical animal we call the horse. Why teenagers? Because I love the confusion, idealism and rebellion they bring to the world. Why self-esteem? Because I think we all need it and aren’t necessarily taught it by the systems we live and work in. Why horses? Because they are great teachers. In fact, they are so much more, this poem by Robert Duncan sums them up:

Ode To The Horse

Where in this wide world can men find nobility without pride,

Friendship without envy, or beauty without vanity?

Here, where grace is laced with power and strength tempered by gentleness.

He serves without servility, he has force without enmity.

There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.

There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.

Our pioneers were borne on his back,

Our history is his industry.

We are his heirs and he is our inheritance…

The Horse.

Untitled-1I had the privilege of meeting my horse three years ago. The first time I sat on him I knew there was something special about him; and I have been discovering all those things ever since. He has been a teacher, a friend, a confident, a playmate, an inspiration and a motivator through good and not so good times.  Here  are just a few things things that he has taught me:

  1. If I don’t ask properly, he won’t do it properly
  2. If I am unfair, I don’t get the best out of him
  3. He is good at reading my mood, if he knows I am being a brat, he mirrors that behaviour back to me, but he knows if I am genuinely trying my best, he tries his best also
  4. If I take the lead, he responds by taking responsibility for himself
  5. If I make my intentions clear, he understands the difference between work and play
  6. If I blame him unduly for things that don’t go well,  I will never grow or get better and he shows me that
  7. If I don’t make a decision early enough, he has to save me over the jump; and that puts a lot of strain on him, which makes him tired for the rest of the course
  8. Different obstacles require a different pace going into those problems
  9. If I stop talking to him, he stops listening to me
  10. If I am not consistent, I have to work a whole lot harder to get back to where we were; and that prevents us from moving forward

But most importantly, he has made me realise that without trust and respect for one another things can go horribly wrong. He probably ways 650 kilograms, which is mostly muscle, why would he consent to let me ride him if he didn’t respect and trust me?

How could some of these lessons help you with your colleagues at work or your family members at home in order to build productive and effective relationships?


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