I have some pretty amazing people in my life; people that I can count on, people who believe in me, and people who will go out of their way to make me feel appreciated. Even while going through some very difficult times, I feel no lack of support from the ones who truly care about me. None the less, I have found that there are times when my horse is one of my best friends. I know, it seems strange having an animal as a best friend, but hear me out.
Always Willing to Listen
Okay, so when it comes to horses we have a bit of a captive audience in the “listening” department. Still, there are days when it feels like I don’t have anyone in the world who understands what I am going through, but when I get to the barn – even if I don’t have carrots – I’m always greeted with a listening ear. When I see those ears prick forward and that back foot resting as I pour my heart out with a brush in one hand and a bottle of Show Sheen in the other, I honestly feel as though my horse is listening to me.
There is No Judgement
People can’t help but judge one another. We all come from different places, spaces, and, sometimes worlds, it seems. We have different traditions and values, and it’s almost impossible to really listen and understand where a person is coming from when you have your own thoughts rolling around in the back of your mind. When I’m pouring my heart out to my horse, she doesn’t judge me. I never hear, “You should have done this” or “Your first mistake was…”, rather I get a quiet response of love no matter what I say.
My Horse is Always Happy to See Me
There is something to be said for feeling as though you are wanted or needed. I think that a lot of us feel a lack of this in our lives from time to time, despite the best efforts of our human friends, family or loved ones. When it comes to interpersonal relationships with people, there is always the “other person factor” – meaning that maybe we’re down and feeling the need for some love and attention, but those people around us are dealing with their own issues. When I go out to the barn and step out of my car, the first thing that I hear is that familiar nicker from the first stall on the right, and I know that someone is happy to see me. Whatever her motives – food, treats, a desire to get out into the arena and run around like a wild animal – my horse always gives me that nod of approval; she gives me that thing that I need, and that is why my horse is one of my best friends.
I’m Not Always Right
We all have those friends who mean well and no matter what we do, they take our side; they don’t “check us” when we’ve done something wrong. Validation is wonderful, but sometimes what we really need is to be reminded that we can be wrong and still be loved and cared for. When I’m riding, if I do something wrong, my horse lets me know. That tail swish, ear-pinning, or even the occasional head toss lets me know that I don’t always make the right decisions…but do you know what the great thing is? It doesn’t matter, because as long as I change my behavior (or kindly ask her to change hers), our relationship remains strong.
My Horse Teaches Me
This is a big one in my book… We all go through our lives interacting with people, but it is only the truly special ones who teach us things that matter. When it comes to horses, I am taught on a daily basis that if I put in the work, I will reap the rewards, and if I don’t put in the work, I will reap the consequences. My horse gives me the confidence of knowing that I am able to completely care for another living creature and meet her needs. She teaches me that I have to be patient, kind, understanding and compassionate. My horse is one of my best friends because she tells me on a daily basis whether I am on the right track.
My Horse Doesn’t Tell My Secrets
Okay, this one is likely only on the list because horses can’t talk. As a matter of fact, I’m sure that if my horse could talk she would have no reservations about spilling my secrets and gossiping with anyone who offered her a carrot or an extra helping of grain. Still, as it stands, my horse knows more about my deepest, darkest, most private “skeletons” than just about anyone in the world…and I’m okay with that.
Take Advantage of the Unique Relationship You Have with Your Horse
As horse people, we are lucky – in more ways than one. Whether it’s being able to go out to the barn or pasture at twilight when we need some low stress company, or whether we need to focus on something other than ourselves for a while, our horses are there for us. Horses help us to achieve our goals, and they are there to carry us – sometimes literally – through the tough spots along the trails of our lives. My horse is one of my best friends because I can count on her to be there for me when no one else is, and I hope that