Jennifer

Suggesting anyone break a rule is particularly rich coming from me. I owe the entirety of my false sense of security to the simple acts of making, following and enforcing rules. After all, someone saner than I has carefully analyzed every situation, evaluated all the potential pitfalls, and devised the rules that will Keep You Safe. Right? If you just understand and follow the rules, you will never have anything at all go wrong. Rainbows and unicorns will be your guides all the days of your life. It’s as easy as pie. And you know how I feel about pie.Well a new day is dawning, people. A new world order. The Age of Equinius is upon us. Come on in, the water’s fine!

I’m starting to realize that sometimes rules are just arcane artifacts of a different time. Some rules are formed in response to a perspective that is not in line with my own, and never will be. And let’s face it, some rules are just plain silly.

As Donnell noted on the Horse Haven Facebook wall, yesterday was perfect. The sky was blue. The air was warm but not too hot. Breezes blew in just as you were starting to think of heading for shade. The horses were grazing and lazing and showing the rest of us how to really relax. Susan, Kathryn and Jill all rode out in the play field. The barn smelled good. Nate mowed every blade of grass on the property causing everything outside the barn to smell just as good. It was Camelot: The Early Years. And to get there, we went ahead and broke some rules.

For instance, we let people take their horses through the wash rack to get from one aisle to the other. If they are comfortable in cross ties, we let them stand in them to groom and tack up. We turn them out together to see if we can turn them out together. We run power tools and work on projects even when people are mounted. It’s anarchy really. Complete anarchy.

Of course it isn’t even close to anarchy. And I’m still a rules oriented person. I’m just more inclined to take a moment to question the rule before following it. To be honest, I still choose to follow 99% of the time, but hey, baby steps. Safety first is still our guiding principle in The Urban Herd. But the expectation is that our people can be trusted to use common sense and our horses can be trusted to use horse sense. We expect everyone to behave well and have contingency plans for when they don’t, instead of expecting everyone to misbehave and devising rules accordingly. I’m seeing that having high expectations is actually less risky than having low ones. Surprise! If you are looking for more proof here it is:  we don’t have a “rule” that you have to clean up after yourself in the barn, but yesterday I saw Anna sweeping the aisle after grooming Lilly. I thanked her and she gave me the “that’s just what we do” shoulder shrug. You’ve all seen it, you know the one I mean.

As Alison wrote, everything changes. Of that we can be sure. We don’t know what the future holds, but for today, let me admit that breaking a few rules has not, to my shock and awe, lead to the decline and fall of the fabric of society. Ranger and Sparty kicked at each other when we put them in the same pasture, so we are putting them in different pastures today. Fabric of society still intact. There is a purpose to rules. We have ones we think are safe and sane (don’t put the electric gates on the ground) but if you think otherwise, well, that sounds like a good conversation topic to me. Bring it up. But keep in mind: “First break all the rules” holds for all rules but mine :-).