Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dont Overthink It or Anything...

I finished my last post with the following:

"Over the past few months Princess and I have developed one of the best relationships I've ever had with a horse and it continues to grow with every ride. It doesn't make my heart pound or my blood come fast. But it is, nonetheless, deeply satisfying...

...There is more to come next post on what happened once I tried to win my mare's mind instead of her heart."

...to win over my mares mind instead of her heart.

... to win over...

I realize now that "to win over" has been the driving force behind my relationship with horses. I constantly seek to not only feel that special and, most importantly, mutual "connection" but to have it demonstrated by my horse in their actions and manners. In the past I've driven by the need to have my horse love me. I find the truth in those words uncomfortably deep. I'm almost embarrassed to admit how deeply in my pysche that river runs, how strong it's current have propelled my truest self, not just in horses, but in life. My hopelessly romantic soul wants nothing more than to be "the one" to that horse and I think I have always secretly been disappointed that none of my horses have looked at me in the truest sense of that way, I've also not-so-secretly envied those who's horses do look at them that way. The irony is that I know better. I've watched all the same clinics and read all the same books! I have a pretty good handle on how the horses psyche works, how to read their body, their intent... how to manipulate it- the basics of "natural" horsemanship. What my mind knew and what my heart had accepted where two different things.

The greatest lesson I've learned in the past year, as bitter as it may sound, is that a horse doesn't need to love me to want to work for me or to respond in a way that I once interpreted as demonstrating love (ie the desire to be with me). Thus is also true that when my horse doesn't work for me it isnt because she doesn't love me. For example, my greatest pet peeve is a herdboundness. To say it is a pet peeve is an understatement. It makes me immediately and thoroughly irate. I cant stand a herdbound horse. I now know why... because I take it personally. It is the ultimate insult to a a wanna-be-loved-horseman. Logically I know why a horse becomes herdbound and I even have a few tricks to help them overcome their herdbound behavior. But I found herdboundness to be a great emotional disappointment, it was so contrary to everything I ever wanted to feel from a horse.

I know that I said today I would write more about how I changed rather than why I changed but I guess I just wasn't finished digging deeply enough in this shamefully overly-thought-out emotional aspect of the "click". I used that word "click" too loosely. In my heart "click" means... It means the sound made when two perfectly shaped pieces of a puzzle are joined together- the sound made when they snap in to place. I was seeking the perfect marriage... rather than the marriage that is perfect for me (borrowed from my friend, the infinitely wise, L.)

More soon.


  1. I think this is important growth for you, Chelsi. And I think it's great that a) you're keeping Princess and b) you recognize that you're growing and she's the CAUSE of this!

  2. I've always wanted that feeling too! Although my horse does get a bit herdbound sometimes she has lived in a boarding barn most of her life & can handle being by herself very well. What I personally have always loved about our "relationship" is that she will can also be pretty herdbound toward me. I always thought it was kind of strange when she would run around & whinny like a maniac when I'd turn her out & the leave to go clean her stall. Although I don't really know all THAT much about my horse's psyche that one thing at least makes me feel really good. Also when someone else rides her I always see her looking at me like "WTF DUDE!!??" LOL. Good blog post. :-)

  3. Just read your blog for the first time in a while, and the timing of this post is uncanny. I want to be connected to my horse, and have just recently come to that goal rather than wanting to be loved by my horse. The other day, after not seeing Pippi for a few days, I walked towards her at a show, and called her name.(Daughter had taken her there with Trainer) She turned her head to see me, whinnied and started trotting in place. That's enough. She clearly enjoys my company, or at least welcomes it, and why should I ask for more? I do so cherish the quiet moments with her, and create them as often as I can. Thos moments are more about us, the two creatures, being together for a moment, rather than her being for me.

  4. Aah Chelsi, you've probably just put into words exactly how many of us horsewomen feel and what we truly desire. That of achieving not only a good working relationship of mutual respect, but also to feel love from our equine companions. I too, at times feel like I need to do a little growing up, or maturing and see the horse as a horse; and stop humanizing their every action. *sigh* I guess you're right...many of us are romantics at heart and just cannot seem to help it. Guess there's nothing really wrong with it. I am so happy for you that you've found a wonderful bond with a horse, especially from someone you didn't expect to find that relationship. Funny how that seems to happen, isn't it? You get what you're looking for when and where you least expect it... Enjoy!!

  5. It's funny, I didn't have the connection with Lily either. She seemed stand offish. She's not an affection seeker.

    But in the last six weeks - I've owner her for almost two years now - our relationship has shifted. That connection is now apparent to me and her.

    I think it's hard for mares who have been passed along to owner after owner. Maybe she has just been waiting to see if I was reliable. But now both our hearts are connecting.

    Sometimes you fall in love. Sometimes it grows over you slowly. And sometimes, you're just friends.

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