You Don’t Need A Unicorn

Horses are every-day miracles.  They let us do the craziest things.  They let us jump on their backs and they carry us all over the place.  They step into boxes on wheels to travel to completely unknown destinations, possibly to never see their friends and family again.  They stand on three legs while we inspect or clean their feet, even though it’s in their nature to be ready to run.

Horses stand in paddocks guarded only by fencing that they can clearly push over or jump whenever the mood takes them.  (My brother’s pony used to crawl through the fence any time we were late with his dinner and I would find him helping himself to the hay shed.  Otherwise he stayed in his pen.)

They allow us to strap all manner of tack and gizmos on to their bodies.  They cross obstacles and they travel around in circles for hours with no clear idea why we find it so interesting.  Horses try hard for us at competitions even though we are wound up tighter than a cat watching birds through a glass window.

Many a generous horse tolerates beginners learning to ride and bouncing on their sensitive backs.  There are so many horses and ponies all over the world that handle children with care even though a slight jolt would send the kids flying.  (One of the ponies I leased would weave in and out of pylons regardless of what cues his little rider was giving.  He knew the exercise and the kids were beaming with their accomplishment. )

Show horses stand patiently while they are bathed and buffed to a shine.  They let people pull on their

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources / Foter / CC BY-ND

hair and manipulate their manes into tiny braids.  The allow their hooves to be polished and their ears to be clipped.  Yet, if you let those pretty ponies go free, the first thing they do is roll in the dirtiest spot available and rub the braids out on a fence post.

When you are feeling fed up or frustrated with your horse and you’re ready to sell, or give him away or pay someone to take him off your hands remember the good things your critter does in his partnership with you and praise him.  There’s something he does that’s kind and generous.

Focus on the positive and build your relationship from there. You don’t need a unicorn!  (If you did have a unicorn and his head got itchy and you weren’t paying attention…well we don’t want to think about that do we?)

What makes your horse special?  Write it in the comments!



Photo credit: Rob Boudon / Foter / CC BY

Comments 6

  1. Your Dad and I really appreciated this blog. It is so true about horses helping their riders and tolerating all manner of indignities and boredom. We remember how Silver used to shift to the left or the right going over a jump to prevent tiny Kyle from falling off. Once Kyle fell off over a jump and although Silver was frightened out of his mind by a panicked parent rushing at him, he tried his very best to avoid stamping on Kyle. And, Silver used to eat all the pea pods out of my garden. All I had to do was say, “Silvy, get out of my garden” and he would trot on over to the lawn until I wasn’t watching anymore ….

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      I remember that Silver was the ultimate babysitter. Yet he was petrified of needles and would rather die than receive one, so nobody is perfect.

  2. well said! I couldn’t agree more. Horses are saints to put up with us crazy people.

    What I have always loved about my mare is how well she has always taken care of me when I’m on her back. Even when she was just being backed, there were many times when I thought I was hitting the dirt and she would save me, somehow rearrange her balance so I was still up there. She always tries so hard to do what she thinks I want, and is so relieved to know she is a “good girl”. It amazes me to think a creature so big and powerful has any desire to connect with us and do what we want, or puts up with us on any level.

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  3. This is so true and this article actually made me feel tearful. I don’t have a horse – but I think they’re beautiful and loving anyway. Reading this made me feel appreciative of so many things, including the nature of horses!

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      I’m glad to have inspired some emotion. I believe gratitude is a way that we can improve our relationships with horses and everyone else.

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