by Laura Crum
Horses are honest. If a horse looks mad or scared or happy or hungry or curious or excited or what have you, he is. Once you learn how to read a given horse (they’re all different), you can pretty much tell what he’s thinking most of the time. You may not be sure how you want to respond to him to get the results you’re after (this would be the skill of horse training), but you know where he’s coming from.
People on the other hand…people are deceptive. The smile and act as if they like you and it often means nothing. Inside they might feel quite negative towards you, even as they mouth those pleasant phrases. A lot of the time they aren’t even honest with themselves about how they are feeling, and so it is literally impossible to have an honest conversation with them. They don’t know how. Not only can you not read them, they can’t express an honest emotion.
And then there is that particular sub-group that are drama queens. Not only are they not able to be honest and straight forward, but everything is ALWAYS a big deal. They express a lot of emotion all the time but none of it is particularly honest. They are usually not speaking to someone or at odds with someone in their immediate context. The drama changes, but there is always a drama. They seem to feed on this.
At this particular moment in time I am fed up to here with the dishonesty of people and their silly dramas. This isn’t exactly a relevant subject for a blog post on an equestrian and writing themed blog…or then again, maybe it is. I am betting that many of you horse people out there know exactly what I mean and possibly even feel this way yourselves from time to time.
Speaking for myself, I relate to the world more like a horse than a person. I know, that sounds weird, but it’s true. If I smile at you and say something friendly, I feel friendly towards you, if I look sad, I am sad, if I look annoyed, I’m annoyed…etc. I don’t pose, and I don’t pretend to feel what I don’t feel. If I don’t like a person I mostly avoid that person, but if the person chooses to confront me, I am honest about how I feel on any given subject. I try to respect other people’s space and their feelings as I would like to be respected, but the bottom line with me is honesty.
This doesn’t always work out too well. Some people like me because they always know where they stand with me, and others find me too blunt. I’m OK with this—the ones who find me too blunt aren’t usually people I am drawn to, anyway. I like direct people. I like people who are like horses, if you see what I mean. Easy to read. What you see is what you get.
Usually when I get a “false” vibe from a person, I avoid being involved with that person. But sometimes life circumstances force a relationship with a person who doesn’t give you a good vibe. And in my experience this always leads to trouble.
Whether it is a co-worker, or your child’s teacher, or the new barn manager at the barn where you have always boarded, that niggling feeling that “this person isn’t being totally honest with me,” is always a red flag. But it is sometimes very difficult, verging on impossible to avoid said person.
My recent experience with this sort of situation has just blown up in my face, causing me to reflect once again on the fact that I do much better with animals overall than I do with people. Thus I have a lot of sadness, and a good deal of bitterness in my heart this morning…and thus you get this blog post.
I am trying hard to focus on all the good things in my life, and there are really so many good things. Gratitude is the right response. I’m also trying to believe (and I actually do believe it) that this particular door is closing for a reason and that it will help guide us to the path we are meant to be on. I’m aware that the bitterness will pass. I am, in general, a happy person, and my husband and son are also happy. This is a small thing in the big picture. But at the moment I prefer horses to people, thank you very much.
Anyway, on that note, I am grateful every day that my 33 year old horse, Gunner, is still with me. I don’t know how long this can last—his arthritic issues are getting worse as he gets older. But I give him pain killers and hang out with him, and I learn a lot from his honesty. He’s still playful and spooky, just as he was as a young horse, and yet there is a deep wisdom and acceptance there, too. Looking into his eyes reminds me that all I can do is be honest myself and roll with the punches as they come along. Tomorrow is another day. (I’m sure I’ve heard that somewhere before.)
And so, I give you Gunner’s gaze. I think this photo says it all.