“I don’t feel attached to my new horse…why?”

I recently came across this question in one of my Facebook groups. “I don’t feel attached to my new horse…why?” It was after the girl had had to put down her old horse and she had gotten a new one and he was perfect for her in every way. But she didn’t feel the same click with the new horse and was worried something was wrong.

It’s 100% normal.

When I first got Jim, it wasn’t like an immediate love at first sight, we are bonded at the hip feeling. I was still mending my wounds a bit and trying to figure things out. Jim – like the horse for the other girl – was perfect for me. He had the right attitude, build, potential that I needed. He was sensitive and sweet and would take care of me. But those first few months took work. Over time, going to see him multiple times a week at the barn, grooming him, riding him, pampering him, our relationship began to grow. It’s now over a year and a half later and we have that attached at the hip, trusting relationship. Now he nickers at me when he sees me and I know all of his quirks and habits and things that make him Jim.

It’s ok when you’re going through a transition, no matter if you had to sell your old horse or put them down or it was the ending of a lease. All of us equestrians have been through this before. It’s not an easy feeling and it can be a hard time. But don’t beat yourself up when you don’t immediately have that relationship with your new equine. Give it time to develop. Although the place in your heart for your old horse will never go away, you’ll find a new spot just for your new partner.

Respect is earned

These past few weeks have been all about respect for me. Jack and I have returned to a bit of groundwork focusing on respect and a bit more communication. He has gotten sassier as the winter has dragged on and it’s only the beginning of what may be a long New England cold snap.

But it’s been making me think about how respect also works in my marriage and showing mutual appreciation and respect for one another.

With Jack, respect has meant that he understands my personal space and that teeth and lips aren’t allowed on humans. I have to take a bit more of an alpha mare role, but also show that he’s safe with me. He has to trust me along with respecting what I ask of him. But it’s also a two-way street. I have to respect when he’s having a bad day and define what success means for that day. I have to understand when he’s in pain or when he’s being scared or insecure.

In my marriage, respect is also a two-way street. It’s a mutual respect of each other and our individual needs. I have to respect when he’s had a long day and also respect his judgment. (If he gets us up in the middle of the night because he thinks someone may or may not be breaking in and tells me to shush, I need to listen.) He also has to respect my moodiness and when I just need some quiet time or when I need him to be there for me.

Every day, I develop more and more respect for my husband and every time I work with Jack I have to build more and more respect. It takes constantly learning, being open to respect and also acknowledging when you’re being disrespectful to build the relationship up. When you are disrespectful, you have to realize it, acknowledge and commit yourself to not being disrespectful again.

Without mutual respect, both my marriage and my partnership with Jack wouldn’t work. It would fall apart at the seams. Respect binds the people (or person and animal) together in the relationship.