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I know, it sounds surprising. 

After all, horses aren’t even as expressive as dogs!  They don’t wag their tails or anything.  What can they possibly teach me about relationships?

I’ve heard statements like these too many times to let it slide.  Just like it takes skill and practice to learn a different language, it takes all that PLUS lots of patience to learn how to communicate – regardless of who (or what) you are communicating with.  Horses are no exception, and over the years, they have taught me so much about how to engage in upfront, trusting, strong relationships. 

To start out, horses do not beat around the bush, as the old saying goes. If they have an issue, they let you know right away by wearing their heart on their sleeve. They may be 1500 pounds, but most horses are just over-grown kids with equally large hearts. While it can be a little intimidating, especially with a young horse that has not yet learned respect, there is an honesty about the way horses ask questions – or even start arguments – that brings communication out into the open and forces us to address issues head on, instead of whispering behind closed doors, as we so often do to our human friends. 

Another interesting thing about horses is something I like to call the “pecking order.” Unlike us, horses don’t believe in democracy. I have yet to meet two horses who see themselves as equals. In a hypothetical herd, one will be the alpha horse (usually the most assertive), one will be the beta horse (the runner up), and the rest will follow in order of assertiveness and willingness to be the boss. In order for a herd of horses to be able to communicate with each other, each one knows exactly where they are in the hierarchal totem pole.  

Now, even though we as humans do not see the world in such black and white terms, there is still something to be learned here. Just because two horses view themselves on different social levels doesn’t make them enemies. I personally know horses that are on completely opposite ends of the "pasture totem pole" who are the best of friends, so long as respect and boundaries are maintained.  When push comes to shove, one will definitely dominate over the other, but in the end, they can always agree to help each other out. 

No matter where we see ourselves in our social groups and communities – whether we are part of "majority" or "minority" groups – communication is universal and if done correctly, can lead to the spread of goodwill in our society! 

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Blessings to all and to God be the glory!

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

 

- AB