In losing my mother this past week and dealing with family members, I'm once again reminded of an old saying that I love from my wise ex-mother law. Her saying was this, "What can you expect from a pig but a grunt?"
That's not to say that she was calling people pigs. It's much deeper than that. It's saying that you can't expect people to be anything other than what they are. You can't expect them to see what they can't see. When you realize that, it takes some of frustration out of the equation and it's easier to walk in a new direction rather than keep banging your head against a wall that isn't going to move -- you can invest your energy elsewhere.
The same thing applies to horses. I used to think that a good trainer could make a horse do anything. They could make a pleasure horse run barrels or a walking horse do reining. But as I've progressed and aged in my horsemanship, I'm starting to realize that a good trainer can see what a horse wants to do and they can see what a horse is. They're not expecting a pig to bark, so to speak.
A happy horse is a horse that is going to perform well. They're just like us. If we like our job, we'll do our very best because we enjoy it. If we don't, we'll do the bare minimum. Horses are no different. If we try to make them do something that they don't want to do, they'll do it but it won't be easy.
Spend some quality time watching and listening to your horse. Does your horse perk up when you go to canter across a field? Does he seem a little more interested when you approach a trail obstacle? Does loping slow come easy to him? Maybe you're hitting on what your horse really likes to do when you see those sometimes subtle reactions. Pay attention to those and pursue them a little futher to find out what your horse likes and "what" he is.
To take it a step further, God is the same way with us. He already knows whether we're a "pig" or some other critter. He works with us accordingly. He doesn't expect us to be something we're not. Instead He embraces what we are and works with it on His timeline. He knows what we're good at and He works with that.
So the next time you encounter a difficult person or a difficult horse, remember you can't expect any more from either than what they are. Once you realize that, life gets a little easier!