The Odd Mix

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Location: Virginia, United States

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Happy Horse-Hockey Heaving

We are using a new bedding for the horses made from wood flour. It looks very much like the pellet fuel for wood stoves when it comes out of the bag. From the standpoint of a stable manager it is the greatest thing since sliced bread – shoot, it is better than sliced bread. It works something like clumping cat litter (only with much bigger clumps – there is a reason for the old saying about having to pee like a racehorse). The maintenance cost is about a quarter that of straw bedding, there is much less smell, and it is much easier to keep clean.

One pleasant side effect of using this new bedding is that my kids can now help with the chores (with straw bedding the forks are just too heavy for them to manage). So today Gabriella and Bissy took up their extra small size manure forks and pitched in to “help” Mommy. They were both enjoying themselves and I was enjoying watching (as opposed to shoveling).

But as I watched I noticed a difference in the way they were enjoying themselves which seemed to reflect a difference in their personalities. Gabriella took pleasure in doing an important task. She was very serious about cleaning the stall properly and was happy as a clam to be doing a “big girl” job. Bissy took pleasure in being a part of the family doing what they were doing - didn’t matter what it was. She was happy to be doing things with her Mommy and big sister. For her the whole thing was a fun game. And she showed that happiness by mugging for the camera in true Bissy style.

As their Dad I don’t think either view is superior to the other. They both enjoyed themselves. They both worked to help. I love them both with all my heart. But this kind of observation can keep a parent sane. Bissy, like me, is more People Oriented – she couldn’t care less about what she is doing as long as she is doing it with people she loves (and it’s not too cold – she hates being cold). If I tried to inspire her to be task driven I would wind up beating my head on the wall. And Gabriella is more Task Oriented – she gets much more satisfaction from doing things. And she needs affirmation that what she is doing is important and that she is doing she is doing it well. The critical thing for me is to remember how each responds and not to expect one to be the same as the other.


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