By Terry Golson

I’ve set myself a goal to blog twice weekly – on topic. I achieved that for a decade when I wrote about chickens, and I’ve done that since May of 2016 here at Cooperative Horse. It’s a challenge to come up with ideas week in and week out. This morning I woke up and thought I got nothing. A second cup of coffee wasn’t going to change the situation.

I strapped on my snowshoes. It’s bitter cold, but the sun is out and the recent snow is powder.

Slogging through the woods on old snowshoes is both a strength and a cardio workout. Exercise really does make you happier, but even when you know you should, it’s hard to actually do it. Exercise in the wilds of Maine is something that I can get myself to do. Going to a gym – not so much.


That good feeling doesn’t happen right away. The first ten minutes is spent thinking that my gloves aren’t warm enough. Then they are just right. That’s a metaphor for life – or horses. It’s like when you do that warmup trot and your body is in knots and your horse feels off, and then it doesn’t and you’re both floating around the arena. It doesn’t do to change gloves in the first two minutes of a hike, and it doesn’t do to try to fix a ride in the first five minutes that you’re in the saddle.


Heres another hiking/horse metaphor – what you think is solid ground can turn out to be thin ice.


My boots are waterproof and high, so I wasn’t in danger. However, the water and slush did freeze on the snowshoes which weighted them down so it was even more of a cardio workout after that mishap. The straps were so frozen that back at the house I had to take the boots off, still attached to the snowshoes and let everything thaw. Which is a better option than breaking the straps. Another metaphor? Absolutely. Apply it to those times when training your horse when you think you have no option other than to force the issue. Step away and let it melt.


I followed this stream, something I can’t do in the summer when the vegetation and insects are dense. Different challenges reveal new landscapes. Yup. Another metaphor.


It’s good to take the time to notice the small things that are right with the world. In the winter when it’s cold and dark do you rush through chores and riding and miss out on the quiet, sweet, companionable moments? It really doesn’t take that long. This video is 48 seconds. How do you feel after watching it?


I came home from my snowshoe outing with all of these ideas about how a walk in the woods can give you life lessons for your interactions with your horses. I was feeling rather deep and thoughtful. But then I realized that it doesn’t matter what I do, I always apply it to my life with horses!

Do you make everything you do have a connection to your horse life? When in a yoga class do you think about how the breathing will help your downward trot transitions? Do you listen to a TED talk about happiness and apply it to your interactions with your barn family? Do your friends, co-workers and significant others find it amusing or annoying? Thank goodness I have this blog where whatever I do can be turned into a metaphor about life with horses.

15 thoughts on “Metaphors

  • Elsie Nickell

    I love winter in Missouri for the same reasons. Love “Step Away & Let It Melt” 🙂 plus all other topics you have addressed in these great blogs! Thank you!

  • Daisy

    Lovely Terry !

    Love this opportunity you take to day to marry Nature and your passion ! Always happy to read one that is aware of the environment and how it participates to one’s present, everything around is teaching us that everything is linked to our essential.

    I feel blissful when I hear bubbling water in Nature; fills my heart. I agree with you that everything we do brings us back to whatever fills our life. Does the same for me and I am in Quantum Energetics Blue. That’s the gift of life when we are balanced and looking forward to what’s the next level to help us along our path !

    Thanks again !

  • John Schaller

    I love the usage of “it doesn’t do” in this blog!

    The experience of winter with horses in Vegas is probably a bit different. The short days make for some really nice sunrises for morning chores, and then in summer people often try to beat the sun again, to stay reasonably cool before the sun really gets going by mid-morning, or ride more towards sunset in the evening.

    Riding horses made me think about posture and balance much more in other parts of my life, in a way no other motion sport has even though posture and balance are also important for things like mountain biking. So suddenly I will find myself pulling my shoulders back while walking down the hall. The TED talks about gratitude and mindfulness really have struck a chord in me in relation to horses and horse people, for sure.

    Also the need to do a number of little things well really seems to be driven home, whether that’s mucking a stall or trying to maintain a consistent canter stride length. There are some activities that are maybe more like making a stew, where varying the recipe doesn’t necessarily make for a worse, or better, result. And, there are some like pie crusts that may give less latitude at least for beginners? And I have found horses to be more like pie crusts, in a very good way.

  • Jan

    Found the video very relaxing. We are having a bad time at present, Tom our 12 year old grandson is on his second jumping pony and has been doing very well at shows and has 20 rosette’s. He got a 1st and 3rd at his last show and was thrilled but then we got some terrible news, the show ground and stables where it was held is now on lockdown with an outbreak of Equine Herpes the neurological form, 3 horses have already been put down and everyone who when to the show has been put in lockdown while we wait for blood results to come back. Keeping our fingers crossed that all comes back okay, but an anxious wait. Have you ever had an outbreak near you?

  • Julie Lonnberg

    Your photos were gorgeous, the metaphors applicable to my life, and the video soul-restoring!
    Thank you. I’m going to bundle up and go outside now!

  • Michelle McMillen

    Love the sound of that little brook (but it took four times as long to load as it did to play!). I do find all kinds of connections to my life with horses, although I don’t often share them. It works the other way, too – my life with horses gives me a lot of metaphors for life in general.

  • Sue Kiley

    Unfortunately, I’m going through a really tough time, health wise. Not being able to ride and bond right now, leaves me feeling anxious and frustrated, however, I read your beautiful blog and watched your video and…I melted! Yet…another metaphor! Thank you

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