I’ve known since I was young that I don’t have much patience – I want everything now. Of course, being that way doesn’t work well when working with horses. I discovered life is very much on their terms and if it isn’t, it can get ugly pretty quickly.

My mare is an Arabian, a breed well-known for their intelligence and I’ve learnt just how smart she is over the past few years.

But, because I know how smart she is and how quickly she can learn new things, in the past I’ve pushed her. However, push her too far or too fast and she pushes back, real quick. There is only so much she can deal with at any one point in time, and she lets me know it!

Patience is hard for my ego – I know what I want and I want it now. It is so hard to slow down and take time, pause and rest, reflect, regroup and try again. (And that is such great advice for us humans, in general, to take on board, just for ourselves).

There are days where it is easier than others, when I have no other agenda, nowhere else to be, nothing else to do but enjoy the time with my horse.

But unfortunately, most days aren’t like that – there is this errand to run, that person to see, work, appointments, children and family and houses to attend to. It feels so hard to stop and breathe and wait for the horse to respond.

I am developing the patience to watch her and then to wait for her. I turn away, mirroring her reaction to me or I stand back to give her space and then wait for her to process – licking and chewing, blinking eyes, floppy lips, sleepiness, a full body shake.

And while I’m waiting for her, I’m learning to notice my own reactions, to do my own processing – where are my thoughts, how am I breathing, am I holding any tension in my body and what did I just learn from her.

This is the part where I need to learn to have patience with myself – not everything has to be done yesterday, not everything needs to be done at the speed of light, and not everything needs to be done perfectly.

I’m finding so much deeper enjoyment now in slowing down and waiting, in being patient.

Today I’m delighted to say that my horse has taught me more about patience than any human ever could.

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Allyssa Carlton

I’ve loved horses forever but only in the last few years have I owned a horse. Now I belong to a grey Arab mare named Aine. When I’m not horsing around, you’ll find me writing, cooking, reading and drinking coffee and wine. I share my home with my barista husband, one of my two daughters and her tiny dog Patrick.

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