It’s always been apparent to me that learning how to ride, train, and care for horses as part of my upbringing has influenced who I am. Teaming up with a completely different species to work towards a common goal has been the best practice I could ever have in problem solving - it requires patience, critical thinking skills, the ability to adapt to a moving target, and a lot of work - you need to think big picture to figure out how to fit this rather unusual past time into your life. I have often been able to apply skills learned through horsemanship to other aspects of my life, and I am not alone. Often, horses have been used for physical and emotional therapy, but more and more “horse people” are coming out in support of learning horsemanship simply for the impact it has on practical skills. In NY Magazine, Alexis Swerdloff reports on successful urban Horse women, ranging from writers to google staffers, who find retreat in the barn. In the Chronicle of the Horse, Kristen Carpenter says, “The barn teaches all the major lessons of life within its four walls and pasture fences. It doesn’t take into account age, gender, race, education or family history. It teaches with the severity and grace of life itself.” This universal equalizer, I think, is truly the beauty of learning how to ride. It is the only sport in the Olympics where men and women compete on equal footing. Rich people still fall off, and kids in Compton, through the Compton Jr. Posse, compete on the same levels as their more affluent Los Angeles neighbors. The program is amazing; and with all of the connectedness of the horse world, it’s possible that many more kids will have a chance to benefit from the wisdom of horses.