When we evaluate an equine for our Therapeutic Riding Program, we document behaviors. Each reaction to something new, their herd behavior, personality and any idiosyncrasies are noted.
I realize we also hear of these evaluations with students, this is sometimes referred to as Behavior Analysis. The outcome may be used as a way to help with placement and needed accommodations for the Free and Public Education to which they are entitled.
As we recently brought in two handsome mules for a program trial, we went through our own stringent review with them and our horse handler team.
I often found myself thinking how each had their own wonderful qualities. Such as gently, easily picking their feet up to be cleaned. Accepting of new stimuli without hesitation. Being curious and wanting to be around people, easily caught in the field. Walking on the trailer with ease when loading.
Kidding with the team, I said "wouldn't it be cool if we could take all the great individual qualities of each mule and combine them into one mule?" knowing that wasn't a reality, still got me over-thinking the idea.
So, what would be left of their personality if that were possible. Would all the negative behaviors become exaggerated? How would it change the way the mule is approached?
My blog readers expect a jump in my thinking about now! What would happen if we had these thoughts concerning people? Do we see negative behavior and make an assumption that negative behavior is the core character of a person and we look no further for the good in them? Do we evaluate and predetermine an opinion about an individual without giving them a trial, a chance to show the good and the bad?
I want to be sure at Prospect Riding Center, and in my personal life, everyone is on the same playing field, so to speak. Good behaviors are nurtured and negative behaviors are addressed.
The mules came in with the names Bo and Cocoa. They are nearly identical and very difficult to tell apart. The owner let us know he nick-named them Ace and Duece, Ace has one spot, Duece has two spots. These mules have been on the Cracker Trail and have had lots of socializing.
Give us a call at the ranch and come see them!
I challenge you to look for the good in the folks you come in contact with, take the bad with the good.