I was out at the barn today, after a particularly stressful week and a morning of feeling that hint of toxic depression sneaking up on me, and it occurred to me that I had forgotten my horse was such a great friend. The past twelve months haven’t been the easiest in the world, and I haven’t been particularly mindful of my relationship with my equine partner, but today, she reminded me why our relationship is one of the best in my life.
My Horse is Always There
I’m talking about being both present in body and mind…my horse is always there. Whether it’s a beautiful and sunny Saturday morning, or midnight on Wednesday, my horse is always there for me. I can jump in the car, drive for ten minutes and spend some quality time with a friend who will always listen and be present with me. Sure, she has her moods – days where I can tell that she would rather I just leave her to her own devices – but even so, she’ll stand quietly either while I brush her and tell her about my week, or if I just sit down on the bench next to the tie rack and think. She doesn’t get preoccupied – at least not for long – and the occasional swivel of her ears in my direction tells me that she’s always mindful of my presence.
Our Arguments Are Easy
In the day and age of friends and “frenemies”, politics and world affairs, it’s actually a blessing to have the types of arguments that me and my horse have. I ask her to do something, she tells me she doesn’t want to do it, we have a discussion, and then we compromise. It’s as easy as that. There isn’t any talking behind my back – unless she’s chatting with the mare across the barn aisle – and there isn’t anything that comes up between us that can’t be worked out. Our “views” may not always be the same, but we are always able to come to an agreement…one way or another. Best of all, we don’t hold grudges. If we have an argument, it’s hashed out and over right there on the spot. I don’t have to worry about showing up at the barn the next day and wondering if I’m still a friend.
My Horse Never Judges Me
It doesn’t matter what I look like, how I dress, how much I weigh, how I’ve styled my hair, or what crazy things come pouring out of my mouth, my horse never judges me. I’ve shown up to the barn in high heels and a dress, on my way to meet with a client, and I’ve shown up in yoga pants and Ugg Boots with my hair in a messy ponytail, and my horse is always happy to see me. I can by whiny or cheerful, sad or enthusiastic, and while my horse will pick up on my emotions and sometimes react to them, she never makes me feel like there is something wrong with me. My horse loves me for who I am – her nicker as I walk into the barn is the same every time I visit.
We Learn From Each Other…Happily
I learn from my horse, and my horse learns from me. We have a very reciprocal relationship. Sometimes I know that I’m right and sometimes, she knows that she’s right, and we’ll let each other know how we feel, but we also work well together when it comes to seeing things from one another’s point of view. My horse isn’t condescending or brutish with me if I ask her to do something that she doesn’t want to do – she may balk, fight me a little, protest, etc., but we always come to an understanding. Sometimes she wins and sometimes I win, and that means that all the time we both win.
We Never Leave One Another Angry
My horse and I can get in the worst “arena argument” on the planet, but by the time that we’ve gone back into the barn, had some time to cool off, I’ve gotten her legs hosed down and her feed bucket filled, we’re happy with each other again. I never storm out of the barn and leave her in the arena with her saddle on, wondering what she’s going to do until she sees me again, and she never turns her back on me – at least not for long. By the time I’m ready to leave the barn, even if we’ve had a “bad day”, we give each other a little love (in our own ways) and go on with life.
Of course, I understand that my friendship with my horse is easy in part because of her dependence upon me and because, well, she’s a horse, but what I think a lot of people fail to realize is that we depend on our animals too. I can honestly say that in the grand scheme of things, my horse has never really let me down, and I hope that if she could speak, she would say the same thing about me. So, hug your horse-friend extra tight the next time that you see him or her, because you truly have a special relationship.
Photos: Sarah Williams’s horse “Holly”