Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Difference Between People and Horses

                                    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.



Dom said...

I tend to be very straight forward as well... and much like you, people sometimes find me too blunt. What you see is what you get with me. I don't have the energy for drama any more. I'm sorry to hear you're dealing this kind of BS :(

Laura Crum said...

Thanks, Dom. And yes, I definitely sense you as someone who is on the same straight forward page.

RiderWriter said...

Laura AND Dom - nope, doesn't surprise me about either of you. :) I appreciate your honesty while blogging and can count on you to say what you think.

I bet a large percentage of animal-lovers would concur that it's easier to get along with them than people. They don't have any reason to hide their feelings, so they don't, and when you love one you often CAN tell what they're thinking. Simple devotion from pets is a very nice thing to have and soothes many a battered heart and soul. Just one reason I adore my pets right back. :)

Love the close-up of handsome Gunner.

Val said...

I remember telling my parents exactly what you wrote in this post when I was a child. Even then, I was frustrated with the fakeness that some people demonstrate.

Sometimes I think that I am good at reading people and then I get fooled and I feel very disappointed. I am so grateful for the people in my life whom I jive with, because they are so difficult to find.

I hope that you feel better soon.

Laura Crum said...

RiderWriter--I kind of guessed other animal people might understand this post.

Val--I know exactly what you mean. I just got fooled by someone that I thought I could trust. It is not fun...and I'm disappointed in myself for trusting this person. Like you, I sometimes think I can read people, but actually, I can read animals pretty well, but am unprepared for the level of deception present in some people.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Trust is always risky.

I am also super direct, which isn't everyone's cup of tea... I often have to think 'how does my face look?' when I'm trying to be "diplomatic".

Maybe count yourself lucky that you're rid of a negative influence in your life.

Laura Crum said...

CFS--I think you hit the nail on the head. I am trying to see it exactly as you say--a blessing in disguise. And...I know that feeling of wondering how my face looks. I don't tend to arrange my features in a conventionally "nice" expression (you know, the sunny smile that means nothing) and when I'm thinking hard or distracted, I often appear to be scowling, though I'm not angry, just absorbed in my thoughts and concentrating on something.

e.speth said...

The older I get, the less patience I have with nonsense, and the less inclined I am to practice it. Sorry you are having a frustrating day. I hope you glide through the dreariness smoothly. I love your 'voice' and your outlook, and, like many others, am very grateful for you. I agree completely with you about animals. Every passing year I make more excuses to hang out with them over people. I am on a slippery slope toward an old age of critter-steeped shut-in-ism. I never, ever met a dishonest horse, although some speak the truth very, very quietly and you've got to pay attention or miss it. Unlike you, though, I have met a dishonest animal. Deeply dishonest. My Doberman, develops a crippling limp every time he is in trouble. I forgive him.

Laura Crum said...

e speth--"A slippery slope toward an old age of critter-steeped shut-in-ism." That is me in a nutshell. Thank you so much for that phrase. And you know, what you say about animals rings true for me. I wasn't up for going into too many details, but I have known horses that were very hard to read, and dogs who (in the sweetest way) will "pretend" to be innocent when guilty of mischief. Faking a limp when in trouble is one of the cutest/smartest mannerisms I've heard of, though. Thank you for a comment that really made me smile. I love your way with words.

Jan said...

This lesson has been beaten in to me in the last few years. People don't want honesty.... they want you to agree with them.

There is no room for discussion anymore in our self-involved society. I don't even give my opinion to anyone, I just have meaningless, fluff conversations, and let it go at that. Unfortunately this includes family as well as friends. My circle of acquaintances is huge, my circle of friends is small, and my circle of true friends is miniscule. With very few people will I even bother to give an honest answer, they rest don't want to hear it.

e speth, I love your phrase, "A slippery slope toward an old age of critter-steeped shut-in-ism". I think many of us are headed towards the life of a stereotypical crazy cat woman, or dog woman, or horse woman. They are much better company than most people.

I might even be there already. I live in an 800 sq ft house with 5 dogs and 2 cats, and have 6 horses, most of them retired. I think I'm headed down that slippery slope pretty damn fast. My husband probably thinks I'm already there!

Laura, letting people in, and giving them the power to hurt us, is a tricky thing. Esp for you when you are trying to raise a child. There is such a fine line between trusting too much and not trusting at all, and showing a child how to walk that line can't be easy.

Here's hoping that our animals give us enough solace that we are able to keep being our happy selves and not let the rest of the world drag us down.

Laura Crum said...

Jan--Yes, it is my son that, in a way, creates a situation where I allow people to cause me grief. I don't want to inflict my chosen hermit lifestyle on him--I want him to have as much of a social life with friends as he wants to have. Fortunately he is an introvert, too, but he does appreciate some time with other kids and so I find myself dealing with the ramifications of that and enduring interactions that I certainly would not otherwise choose to endure. I agree that trying to walk that line between trusting too much and not trusting at all is very hard.

Laurie said...

I so agree with you. I prefer the company of animals myself. They are much more accepting and honest and just plain fun to be with. No head games or ulterior motives with them.

Laura Crum said...

Laurie--Yes, I think a lot of us "animal people" are on the same page. Thank you for the comment!