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On the shoulders of giants

Don Jessop

​Montana can be cold, even in the summer, especially in the early morning before the first rays of sun paint the valley in color. I'd been called out of bed with a soft voice and a gentle push on my arm. It was my big brother Ben telling me I should get up to come see his mare give birth to a new baby filly. I was eight years old. I had no idea what wonders I would encounter as a result of that dewy morning meeting with destiny. This memory is marked clearly as the catalyst in my journey with horses. The spark that started it all. 

​In a rush, we ran outside, I didn't even have time to gather my jacket or shoes. The two of us stood waiting at the edge of a white line of electric wire separating us from the horses. It was a make-shift pen set up on the grass to support his mare giving birth away from the other horses. I certainly didn't want to touch the line, but felt myself, in my semi sleepy state, drifting toward it. Ben grabbed me by the arm and pulled me back. The wet grass on my bare feet felt freezing. I understood why I was there but found it difficult to embrace the moment given the elements and the lack of preparation on my part. Thankfully, Ben intuitively lifted me up onto his shoes. And for the first time I felt relief from the wet grass and a warm body giving me a boost in heat. Ben was older, is older, than me by nearly twenty years. His presence was as much a father's presence as a brother. 

Over the next hour we stood silent, watching as a nervous new mama gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. The sun was not yet up and the color of the new horse seemed jet black in the dusky light. I should say, wet black, because later in the day, with the heat of the sun, her coat had dried and her blood bay color was very evident.

What I remember most in the moment was the awe and shock I felt as life birthed life. Two new lives in fact. One, a baby horse named Trish. Two, my unimaginable passion for horses. Nature has a way with the human heart. But what I remember most today is the leather shoes I stood on and the firm hold of my older brother safely keeping me in that moment as the spark for an entire lifetime of growth and sharing began.

Ben couldn't have known what an impact that made on me. However, I remind him often how that moment started the fires within me. Ben is not the only one that lifted me up through the years, although he was certainly the first. Most credit, without any hesitation, goes to my beautiful wife Rachel. Without her, my spark would not, could not, shine as bright. Her enthusiasm for horses and riding and learning and sharing goes way beyond average. In a way, I stand on her shoulders. I learn and share what she learns and shares. 

I have to give credit where it's due. I certainly allow my passion to exist. I don't stand in its way. So some credit belongs to me too. But I don't stand on my own shoulders. I stand on the shoulders of giants. People who are ahead of me, or were at some point. People whose passion for life and love and sharing is renowned and extraordinary. On one hand, I count Pat and Linda Parelli, John Lyons, Monty Roberts, Tom and Bill Dorrance and the like. On the other I count Nuno Oliviera, Philip Karl, Walter Zettle, and the like. All people I have studied intensely, with many, in person. And if I had three hands, I'd count the giants of personal development. Tony Robbins, Jim Roan, T-Harv Eker, Richard Bandler and the like. These are people who have personally shaped the way I think, communicate, and operate. And If I had a fourth hand, I'd thank the wild ones. The people like Lynne Eisenhardt, Ashley Laurence, Christina Zenato and the like. These are the folks that do what I do, only with other species. It's incredible to watch like minds shape the world as we know it.  These are the giants whose shoulders, or feet, in Ben's case, I stand upon. I thank you all for your contribution. 

Who are your giants?

Who has helped you achieve your status or driven you to think in a different way, even if it's to avoid a life you don't want and grow toward one you do want instead? Who deserves the credit for the man or woman you are today? It's always who you know, not what you know that brings the magic. We just have to embrace it and try not to get in the way of our passion for great things.

Thanks for reading, Don 

Don Jessop - Blog Welcome

Hi! I'm Don Jessop

With Mastery Horsemanship

I write to inspire, educate and encourage you on your horse and personal journey.

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Don Jessop


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