Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Relationship, Sure, But What Kin Are You To Your Horse?

Horses fill a range of emotional needs and fill a range of relationship roles. For some they are babies. Such owners refer to themselves as their horse's Momma or Daddy. There is nothing wrong with this perception as long as it does not lead the owner to falsely believe that their horse is helpless and in need of protections 24/7. Often such owners, in an effort to "baby" their horse, do not allow the horse sufficient exercise and over feed the animal. The irony is that this effort to protect the horse is at the root of the two leading reasons horses are put down today--colic and laminitis/founder.

In reality, a horse is tremendously tough and resilient, with one exception--their digestive systems had just as well be made of crystal. They are subject to a range of toxic threats in addition to the various types of colic.

Preteen girls often view their horses as their first boyfriend--not in any perverse sense but in the sense that they project onto the horse all the qualities that they want in a boyfriend. They often tell me that one of the best things about their horse is how well he "listens" to them. They are concerned that their horse might think that they are "cheating on him" if they ride another horse. When they fall from their horse they are often disappointed in the horse and will share with me that they are afraid that "he does not love me anymore."

This is a positive step in a girls emotional development. It is no different than having a puppy, or even a doll, as their first baby.

I do not think of my horses as babies. If anything I think of them as little brothers. I want to respect them. I want them to impress me. I want them to be glad to see me. I do not mind if they disagree with me. I recognize that that I am not always right--maybe there is a better way to get around that tree than the way I suggested. I expect them to get the job done just as I expect to get the job done myself. I expect them to tolerate my imperfections. I do not have unreasonable expectations for them but I expect them to meet my expectations.

I never think of them as weak or fragile.

I have never asked Ashley how she thinks of Peter Maxwell but my strong hunch is that she simply thinks of him as a very close friend. (That is what he thinks of her).

(This picture is of the first time she got on Peter.)

No comments: