Love your horse — and love yourself!

Love your horse -- and love yourself!

Sitting down to write a post for this week and I still have many questions people have sent in that I will respond to over the next weeks.

However, one thing that stands out in all these posts is how much we all love our horses.

And in contrast, how little we seem to love ourselves.

 

I think I should explain this a bit.

Almost every person who has contacted me about this blog, and about horses and confidence in general, feels a strong emotional connection with their horse.  They will go to great lengths to keep their horse safe, comfortable, healthy – and invest their time and money in this in many ways: field maintenance, vet bills, chiro and physio visits, attending clinics to be a better human for their horse.

 

However,  many of the people I work with and talk to every day spend FAR less time, money and effort on caring for themselves.

I don’t mean they don’t look after themselves physically – but rather they seem to feel that spending time and money on their own emotional wellbeing is not worthwhile, they do not deserve it – or they should be spending that time and money on other things.

 

In one way this is admirable – putting your horse above yourself is a good trait.  Our care and concern for our horses is a key part of who we are.

But what happens when we don’t take as much care of ourselves?

 

When we don’t care for ourselves – and I mean love and care for our own emotional wellbeing – then things can get out of balance and, in fact, end up being bad for our horses.

I have often heard “I am letting my horse down”, “I am not good enough for my horse”  or “I shouldn’t have horses”.  Sometimes it’s “I have no right to do anything with my horses, they are happy enough out there in the field so why should I interrupt them?”

I do believe we all think these things now and again – when we have a bad day, or when things don’t go as well as we hoped – that is normal—however, if we are thinking this constantly it can be very bad for our confidence and our horses.

I see horses left in the field, with little or no human interaction, because their human feels “unworthy” or “unable” to spend time with them.

Whilst I am sure a horse is just fine hanging out in the field with other equine companions, and in fact my horses can be left for weeks at a time with just each other for company apart from the daily checks and the hay being thrown over the fence – I also feel that when we do not spend time with our horses we are missing a huge opportunity – for ourselves AND for them.

A horseman I respect once gave me his perspective on why horses and humans are so good for each other.  In his view it’s all about how the souls of the two creatures interact.

The human soul is very future focused, analytical, rational – the capacity to plan and think things through – and when we connect with a horse, the horse gains access to these aspects of soul and therefore is enhanced and benefited by the connection.  In return, the horse’s soul is very anchored in the here and now, the “being” side of living – and this is what we humans get from our connections with our equine partners.  Both of us, horse and human, have our souls enhanced and enriched by the connection.

Whether you agree with this or not, the fact is that both horses AND humans benefit from the connection, and when we feel unworthy we are depriving our horses AND ourselves of some great joys and pleasure through the connection.

 

So what happens when we don’t value ourselves enough?

–          We start thinking we are annoying our horses with our requests and time with them

–          We start thinking we are not good enough for our horses

–          We start questioning our abilities

–          Our confidence goes down

–          So we spend even less time with our horses

And a spiral begins that can be hard to get out of.

 

When we DO love and value ourselves – what happens?

–          We head out to our horse happy and full of excitement

–          Our horse feels this positive vibe and responds in kind

–          Connection is easy

–          We take time to have coaching and learning for ourselves – becoming better humans and so able to offer more to our horses

–          We learn more about ourselves – which is often the key to confidence

 

So here is something to think about:

How much do you value yourself?

What IS good about yourself?

What would happen if you allowed yourself to love yourself as much as you love your horse?

 

And

 

How can you invest as much time and effort in YOURSELF as you do in your horse – to help both of you become the partners you DESERVE to be?

 

Yours, in confidence

 

Cathy

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16 thoughts on “Love your horse — and love yourself!

  1. I was doing this exactly and when she hurt herself I started a programme of walking out in hand 4 x week. It has made me feel more connected with her but it is still hard to motivate yourself to go especially when they are on assisted livery and you don’t have to be there

    • this is a great plan — and one reason I really encourage walking out in hand — its gives such a great opportunity to really pay attention to and notice how your horse enjoys being out and about, what they like to look at and do — which of course is great for your confidence when you get back on board again!
      I understand about the motivation – we often say “we are doing it for our horse” when really, it would be so much better if we could just find a way to say to ourselves — you know, I enjoy doing it, I am doing it for ME and that is OK!

      Cathy

  2. Totally agree with this as I got to the point I hardly saw my mare. I’ve started walking her out in hand and slowly its getting better

  3. Very interesting, I’m sure we’ve all been there, I know I have. It also helps to have good friends to come and kick you up the butt to get you out there again, even if it is only to spend undemanding time with your horse.

  4. So true, thank you, so easy to say “not today” .. and then the confidence dips even more as you think you have failed…thank you for this post.

    • It is amazing to me the list of things we consider failure, especially when we are feeling a bit down — -when the mere fact we get up each day and go out there and do ANYTHING is such a success!!

      Cathy

  5. I got my much waited for horse in Feb, lost my confidence in my riding ability while looking for a horse, too many described as one thing and turning out to be something much more! He arrived and was a bit full of himself so we spent 3 months walking out, playing on the ground, long reining round the area so I knew what he did when he spooked, so I built my confidence in him on the ground before I clambered aboard. Unfortunately we managed 4 rides, all without incident (apart from a shy at those ginger horse eating man holes) before I hopped off the mounting block, landed badly and broke my leg. The last two months have been really hard, only being able to get to see him once or twice a week to spend undemanding time with him, but he has proved so gentle during this time, coping with the wheelchair in his stable and now the crutches, that while I am a bit anxious about getting on him again in case I damage myself again, I feel as though he will absolutely look after me when we do start back in another 6 weeks or so. He will also have to learn to be mounted from the right as I feel my left leg will be too weak for a while and am gaining confidence in his ability to help with that too.
    Thanks for your blog posts, they make me feel that this wimp is on the right track!

    • you sound very savvy in how you have handled things so far Beth — I agree that travelling around trying horses out can really dent your confidence — and your trust in human nature too! Very good to do a lot of ground work to learn his behaviours and know you can predict what he will do in given situations — that is a great confidence boost! And you know, it doesn’t matter how long the journey takes — it’s your journey after all, and half the fun is in the process of getting there!

      Cathy

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