Hassan Ikhzaan Saleem

Hassan Ikhzaan Saleem in Montezuma, New Mexico.

“When I was getting into horsemanship, a great cowboy and horseman, he said to me, if humans were like horses, there’d be more peace on the earth because you just take a wild horse, a feral horse and it’s being chased by a mountain lion, it’s going 100 miles an hour and the mountain lion gives up and lets it go, the horse just doesn’t stop and go back to grazing, but the horse stops and gets on the ground and roll in the dirt and makes a transition.

You take a horse out of a round pen and go work him on cattle and bring him back and he goes on the ground and rolls in the dirt and makes a transition. If humans would take the time to make the transition between their lives when they’re doing things, there’ll be more peace on earth he said.”

“This red horse that I work with, Caspian is his name, and you know, we work and we get things done and it goes great and I’m so proud of myself. I come back next morning and he’s forgotten everything, or I’ve forgotten everything, and it doesn’t work.

People say, ‘aw, you’ve been working with this horse for 6 months, he still sucks.’ And I say well at least I tried and I’ll keep trying and one day that horse will be great and I’ll ride him in the biggest rodeo and I’m going to take him up in high country and pull a steer and it’ll be the most beautiful thing in the world. At least I tried.”

Hassan Ikhzaan Saleem’s full podcast:



APOMM behind the scenes:

Ikhzaan is the only Maldivian cowboy I’ve ever met.

He was born in the Maldives, a tropical island nation southeast of India. Raised in a family that encouraged reading western classic literature, Ikhzaan fell in love with the American West and the idea of working with horses, though he had never seen one. He was also a fan of John Wayne movies. Each year for his birthday,Ikhzaan’s father would buy him a toy horse.

After high school Ikhzaan attended United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico and lived with a family that owned a ranch. There, he learned to ride horses, but also how to train them in the Vaquero style, with a focus on patience and no strict deadlines.

When I finally sent Ikhzaan a link to his story, he relied, “I saw the link, but I haven’t had time to look at it, because we are trying to get the cattle to the spring pastures, and I thought, “I actually know a cowboy.”

Discussion Questions

  • What wisdom do you glean from Hassan’s words about transitioning between doing different things in life? What has transition looked like for you in the past? How do you describe that process?
  • What is the difference between setting aside anger and frustration and becoming complacent? How do you calm down, relax, and transition out of situations without ignoring them?
  • How do you try to change the world? Have you seen changes you had wanted to see? What changes in the world do you desire but haven’t seen come to fruition yet?
  • What opportunities in your day-to-day life have you missed? What current opportunities can you actively work to grasp?
  • How does hope influence your actions? How are your actions different when that hope is absent?

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