1. Follow Your Dream
Ruby’s dream is simple: spend the day grazing in the pasture, come back to the barn for dinner and a good night’s sleep. Repeat, ad infinitum. Maybe your dream is more complicated than grazing all day, but the wisdom is the same: find your dream, then follow it.
2. Love Deeply
When she was a young mare, Ruby raised several foals. She was a wonderful mother and devoted to her babies, but weaning time was always an upsetting experience for Ruby because she loved them so much. Today, Ruby is happily content to spend her days with her daughter (her very last baby, now 9 years old).
3. Use Your Senses
Ruby’s eyesight isn’t as good as it once was, but she has learned to compensate for this deficiency. How does she do it? By relying on her other senses to help her stay on top of everything that goes on around the farm. (Read as: Ruby hears everything. There are no secrets. That grain bucket you just rattled? That gate you just latched? She’s heard it all, and she’s ready for you.)
4. Tell People (Or Other Horses) How You Feel
In Ruby’s case, this could mean a bit of ear-pinning if another horse encroaches on her space, but the general lesson is this: others won’t know how you feel about something if you don’t tell them. Ruby believes in making her feelings known, and the other horses respect that.
5. Be Cautious
While you’re out following your dream, loving deeply, using your senses, and sharing your feelings, remember to be cautious. Look things over, ponder the options, make sure of things before you move forward. If you’re Ruby, this means making sure that the horse is the next stall is the same horse that’s always there (because it could be an Imposter that Looks Just Like the Horse that’s Always There). It only takes a moment to look before you leap.
Ruby has learned a lot in her first quarter century—what lessons have your senior horses learned?
About the Author: Samantha Johnson is a freelance writer and the author of several books, including The Field Guide to Horses (Voyageur Press, 2009). She raises Welsh Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin and is a certified horse show judge. Follow her on Twitter: @miraclewelsh.