Friendship Defined and Applied to Your Human Equine Relationship.
Think for a moment about the person that you consider to be your true and best friend in life. What has made that person so dear to your heart? What qualities do you admire and desire in a human relationship? Can this guide us in our relationships with our horse? Can we be the type of friend to our horse that we desire our true and best friend to be to us? What is friendship anyway?
I believe that one of humankind’s deepest desires is to know and be known. To have a connection with another human being where we feel understood, loved, accepted, respected, valued, cherished and appreciated. And to be able to give all of this in return.
A true friendship is a mutual and agreeable relationship between two compatible individuals. True friendship is not one sided. It takes two individuals to negotiate the boundaries in a relationship and a friendship will not survive very long if only one person is making the effort to sustain the relationship without any help or recognition from other person.
A True Friend Defined:
-A true friend genuinely knows you, loves you and respects you, as who you are now and who you are becoming.
-A true friend is a person you know well and regard with affection and trust.
-A true friend is reliable and loyal and wants to help when help is needed, even if you don’t think to ask for help.
-A true friend shares similar interests and values.
-A true friend is emotionally available to you, sharing your joy and your sorrows.
-A true friend is someone you enjoy being around and who enjoys being around you.
-A true friend is someone you can talk to about almost anything, and who listens and cares.
-A true friend knows what mood you’re in just by looking at your facial expression and body language.
-A true friend knows just how to cheer you up when you’re sad.
-A true friend will never be envious of your accomplishments.
-A true friend will push you towards greatness, and not pull you away from it.
-A true friend will encourage you, build you up, inspire you, and empower you.
-A true friend shares deeply with you, hugs you, consoles you, and engages you in meaningful conversation.
-A true friend is someone you can look in the eye and honestly share yourself with and have her honestly share herself with you.
-A true friend is a person who will be honest with you about yourself, even telling you the negative stuff, but always doing it out of love and care for you.
-A true friend will want to resolve issues with you after a disagreement because she values your friendship.
-A true friend will look at you at your worst time in life, and still call you beautiful and strong.
-A true friend is someone that no matter what you go through, will always tell you that they love you.
-A true friend forgives you and extends grace.
-A true friend is someone who will try to protect you.
-A true friend will tell you what is right and what is wrong.
-A true friend will speak truth to you and not lies.
-A true friend is a person who will give you advice on the troubles you are having…and when things go wrong..they will still be there by your side no matter what..
-A true friend will come to you when you’re at your lowest, and even stay when you try to push her away.
-A true friend will tell you when you do something stupid, but support you through change.
-A true friend will be there for you through thick and thin, even when she knows that you are wrong, she will stick with you until you are able to make things right.
-A true friend will love you unconditionally, with no strings attached.
-A true friend helps you to learn new things, stimulates your thinking, and causes you to grow and mature.
-A true friend has an unexplainable, unbreakable bond with you, even if she is not there with you physically, she is with you in your heart and mind.
-A true friend is someone with whom you share countless memories together.
The Truth Revealed: To Have A True Friend, You Must Be A True Friend.
So, can the qualities that we desire in a true and best friend guide us to the truth about how to be our horse’s true friend? I think so. The truth is, you need to be the person to your horse that you wish your true and best friend would be for you. Basically, live the list of qualities mentioned above.
But how do we become the type of friend to our horse that we desire our true friend to be to us?
The Parelli Natural Horsemanship Program has been known for the phrase, “Love, Language and Leadership“. These three elements are keys to having and maintaining the human equine relationship. As seen above, they are also keys to maintaining a human to human relationship too.
-True love seeks the best of the other, whether it is by affirmation and encouragement, or correction and instruction, motivated by a desire to help the other person (horse) grow and mature.
-True language enables two individuals to successfully communicate by exchanging information, ideas, thoughts, and feelings, through a common system of signs, symbols, words and behavior. Thus both can connect mentally and emotionally by sharing ideas in a way that both the speaker and the listener comprehend the message sent and act upon the information in a proper manner.
-True leadership seeks to elevate and bring out the best in the other, while causing mutual growth and together accomplishing an end goal.
So, To Be A True Friend To Your Horse, You Need To:
-Allow your horse to genuinely know you, love you and respect you, as who you are now and who you are becoming. Don’t pretend to be something you are not.
-Know your horse well, (horsenalities) and regard him with affection and trust.
-Be reliable and loyal and willing to help your horse when help is needed. This includes being passively persistent in the proper position, to get the change in the horse even if he does not want to yield at first.
-Share interests and values. Trial ride if your horse likes it. Jump, swim, gallop, mosey, rest in a pasture as he eats grass, etc. Because he likes it. Care enough not to push your own agenda at the expense of putting the relationship first.
-Be emotionally available to your horse. Live in the moment, not the past or the future. Realize that your horse does share your joy and your sorrows.
-Enjoy being around your horse and ensure he enjoys being around you. Play together and have fun. Surprise him with what he enjoys to do.
-Talk to your horse about almost anything. He does listens and care. And your secrets are totally safe with him!
-Know that your horse knows what mood you’re in just by looking at your facial expression and body language.
-Be with your horse when you are sad, (Undemanding Time) as his presence will cheer you up.
-Allow your horse to shine and never be envious of his accomplishments. And if you are complimented for a performance, give your horse credit where credit is due.
-Push your horse towards greatness, and not pull him away from it by you being a poor leader, horseman or horsewoman or horse developer.
-Encourage your horse, build him up, and empower him.
-Engage your horse in meaningful conversation. Address issues like obedience, respect, attitude, etc. Don’t insult his intelligence by not advancing in your own learning and guiding him in his learning.
-Look your horse in the eye, figuratively, and honestly share yourself with him and accept his reactions and responses as him honestly sharing himself and his opinions with you, through his feed back.
-Know that your horse will be honest with you about yourself, even telling you the negative stuff, via sharing his opinions to your requests with “negative” behaviours you may not understand or appreciate.
-Resolve issues with your horse after a disagreement, or clash of opinions, because he values your friendship.
-Look at your horse after your worst session imaginable, and still call your horse beautiful and strong, and worth it all.
-Be there for your horse in the trying times, health issues, busyness of life and live your love for him in actions.
-Forgive your horse and extend grace when he does not understand your request or does something that upsets you or causes you fear, or behaves like the prey animal that he ultimately is.
-Protect your horse by ensuring his safety, quality of food, health care, hoof care, etc.
-Communicate to your horse by using “horse language“, teaching what is right and what is wrong according to your expectations.
-Know the truth about horsenalites and horse development and avoid using the common lies of some of the conventional training methods.
-Recognize your horse’s trouble issues and address the needs…and when things go wrong..still be there by his side no matter what. If necessary, get outside help from someone like Keri-Lynn who can help solve issues.
-Go to your horse when he is at his lowest, and even stay when he tries to push you away, ie: injury or sickness.
-Appreciate when your horse tells you that you did something stupid, through his honest feedback (bucking, kicking), but support him as you both grow and change.
-Be there for your horse through thick and thin, even when you know that he is wrong. Stick with him as he figures out the puzzles you present to him, and as he solves them, and is able to get things right.
-Love your horse unconditionally, with no strings attached.
-Help your horse learn new things, to grow and mature, be more intelligent, confident and brave.
-Enjoy the unexplainable, unbreakable bond you have with your horse, that even if he is not there with you physically, he is with you in your heart and mind.
-Make countless good memories together with your horse.
Let’s talk (using the reply section below, or on Facebook…) How can you be a true friend to your horse today? What qualities do you desire in a true friend that you are not giving to your horse yet?
Rose Standish, Life Coach, Biblical Educator, Author
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