I absolutely love analogies, love them, couldn’t live without them. That which could take a novel to explain can be communicated quickly and simply with an analogy.
Definition: analogy (a-nal-o-gy /a’nalegee) Noun. Similarity in some respect between things that are otherwise dissimilar, a comparison based on such similarity. A resemblance, likeness or parallel.
So, I was having a lesson a few weeks ago and started describing the personalities of my herd (sigh, yes, a small herd, but still a herd) to my instructor. And all of a sudden it came to me that I was describing the main characters in the Wizard of Oz!
Nautilus found me first. The Cowardly Lion, Nautilus is a 16.3h 1500 pound Dutch Warmblood that at seven years old, was afraid, literally afraid of his own shadow.
So of course, I had to find his bravery for him, in the form of Ruffian, a la Toto. Ruffian a tiny little donkey, fell into Freestyle Farm (well, not literally fell, but in some ways it sure seemed like it). Ruffian and Nautilus became inseparable, and Nautilus became Ruffian’s protector from the other boisterous geldings I had back then.
Then Rio wandered in, well, kind of. A desperate phone call from a complete stranger led me on a journey to pick up the Tin Man, in the form of a huge horse without a heart who needed a new home. A big 17.2h, 13 year old, Selle Francais who was, what I call, a man-made Asperger horse. He was stiff, worried, socially awkward, and couldn’t make eye contact or relate to human or horse. I did the best I could in helping him become the horse he always should have been. He quickly loved me and Nautilus. Now his heart also belongs to Ruffian, so Toto is there to help him too.
Treasure, what can I say about Treasure. The horse of every little girls dream – golden palomino, flaxen mane and tail, the color of straw. Yep, Treasure was my Scarecrow, a gorgeous animal and the smallest horse in the barn with the biggest attitude. An eight year old American Saddlebred who was exactly what I wanted, who popped up when I entered all my criteria into Dreamhorse.com. Treasure, who thought he was a dumb blond surfer dude who only spoke slang. He thought that was all he was. Treasure came to Freestyle Farm to find his brain. (There is actually a Helen Keller analogy in here, but that will have to wait for another time, after all, this is the Wizard of Oz.)
Finally, Denali. Denali came to OZ (or OR) from, well, to say Kansas would be stretching the truth a bit. So actually he came from Kentucky, which is kind of close to Kansas. He was the youngest and, in his opinion (and that of many others), the prettiest. So in this analogy, Denali is Dorothy. And like Dorothy, Denali was the leader by default who is loved and admired by everyone, because he believed Nautilus had courage, Rio had a heart and Treasure had a brain.
And me, oh I bet you were thinking I was going to play the part of the Wizard. Nope, I am merely L. Frank Baum. I am told there is a strong resemblance. And as Dorothy would say, on behalf of the herd here at Freestyle Farm, there is no place like home.