When I decided a few years ago I wanted a horse, I had in mind a statuesque warmblood. Or perhaps a friesian. Jet black with a flowing mane and forelock. I looked everywhere for him. Online, trade magazines, rescue organizations. Never finding exactly what I thought I wanted.
When I heard that a trainer had a horse who was blind in one eye and he was "getting rid" of him, my heart got the best of me and I went out for a look. I stood in the pasture looking around at the herd of 30 horses trying to figure out where he was.
All of a sudden a dirty buckskin quarter horse with a stringy and sparse brown mane came running up from the other side of the hill. I knew it was him.
He gently and quietly walked over to me and then he hugged me. Yes, he hugged me. He squared his body up to mine and rested his head on my shoulder.
He was not the statuesque gelding I was looking for. But it didn't matter. I feel in love with him instantly.
Odin has been with me for just over a year now and like any new relationship we've had our ups and downs and our struggles with communication as we continue to learn about each other as well as ourselves.
The five most important lessons in love, I've learned from my horse.
LOVE SHOWS UP IN UNEXPECTED WAYS
Re-read the opening if you don't get this one. Sometimes we have our dream guy built up in our heads and that's all we are open to receiving. We dismiss everyone else.
If he's not 6'2" with an athletic build, a witty sense of humor that loves sports and has a passion for everything outdoors we will overlook the 5'8" slim, dry sense of humor guy that loves to cook.
Are you picking up what I'm throwing down here? A guy may not be the physical package you thought you were looking for, but be open to love in all its' forms. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
KNOW YOUR ROLE
Every herd of horses has a lead mare and a lead stallion. The lead mare always leads from the front of herd, looking for food water and shelter. The lead stallion leads from behind, putting on pressure. He is in the back of the herd, keeping a safe eye over everyone, leading the stray youngsters back into the group. They know their roles and they perform them well.
Every relationship, to work smoothly, must have a male energy and a female energy. This gives the relationship balance. This does not mean that women must be the female energy and men the male energy. Plenty of women are a dominant male energy and choose more submissive, nurturing female energy men. And vice versa.
There are plenty of books written on this subject that explore this more in depth than I will here, but I'll break it down into it's most basic parts. Masculine energies are the dominant individuals. The providers and protectors. They like to take charge and be respected. Feminine energies go with the flow. They want to be cherished and heard. They lead with their heart.
The bottom line is, know your role. We all possess qualities of both energies, but there is one sphere that dominates. Are you a feminine female or a masculine female? Whichever one you are, you will attract the opposite in your mate.
Horses are prey animals which means safety is their top priority. This forces them to be present. They never think, wow that hay I ate last night for dinner was so good, or I wonder when my owner is coming out to ride again? They are only focused on what is going on in the right now.
It's easy to get caught up in dreaming about a future with your partner, or to stay angry and upset about something that happened in the past. But here's one simple rule: don't.
Be up front, and express your feelings about something when it happens so you don't hold on to it and stay stuck in the past. And on the flip side of the coin, be honest about what you're wanting to build for your future.
But do not stay in either of these realms. They rob you of what is actually going on right now in your relationship. You miss out on experiencing life.
LEARN EACH OTHER'S LANGUAGE
Humans and horses speak different languages. Unless you take the time to learn and understand the language of the equine you will never communicate. You may be able to get your horse to do something out of intimidation, fear or reward-related behavior, but this is not communicating. This is dominating.
It's the same in human relationships. We all interpret words, actions and behaviors differently. Take the time to understand your partner's love language and make sure to explain yours to him/her. Get clear about each other and peel back the layers slowly, ensuring that no misunderstandings happen.
When riding, we stay balanced in the saddle with a three-point structure: head up, shoulders back, and heels down.
In a relationship there's also a three-point balance structure: me, you and us. The time and energy spent towards each one must be balanced. The minute it becomes unbalanced, the relationship will crumble.
If you focus too much on yourself and do not put time and energy into your partner or your relationship, it fails. If you lose yourself in the relationship or focus too much on your partner, you're headed towards Fail City as well.
Take these lessons I've learned and apply them to your current or future relationship. And remember, you heard it straight from the horse's mouth.