I will be the first to admit that when I brought Suzie home, I was ill-prepared for the partnership. I blindly assumed that our story would mirror the tales of Flicka, Black Beauty, Heartland, and other heart-warming equestrian tales. The kind where the heroine escapes pain and misery and only love steadies the friendship between woman and beast.
I could not have been further from the truth.
In reality, I didn't know Suzie, and Suzie didn't know me.
We were strangers.
Anyone who starts fresh with a new horse knows how much of a struggle the first year can truly be. It is very much like marriage; learning to compromise, learning when to bend, and learning which boundaries can [and cannot] be pushed.
The thing is; you are not a pilot and a horse is not a piece of machinery. Like marriage, this partnership is not a 100/0 ratio and there isn't a "one size fits all" management program.
Every little thing we do with our equine partner is subtly (and sometimes not so subtley!) tailored to their (and our) needs. We cannot take without giving and in true fashion to the sport of equestrianism, the horse is our dedicated partner, much like we are their dedicated owner.
Love isn't the emotion that will make your relationship successful. It will not mold you and your horse into a team and it certainly will not cure all evils and vices. It will not help you conquer obstacles, and it will not assist in detrimental arguments - because yes, there will be arguments.
To create a bond and to have a steady partnership, it takes much more than a few days of "getting to know eachother". It takes years to develop a relationship, one that is understood on such a subtle level that no one else can even read the thought processes you two are sharing. It is breathtaking, captivating, and beautiful when it all comes together and everything starts to line up and make sense.
To acheive it is pain-stakingly long journey. The ability to "hang tough" and to ride with the waves is what will bring you and your horse into brighter days. Understanding and patience are the emotions which make up the bulk of our training regime. One cannot be substitued for another, and in turn, these two emotions develop into affection.
Understand the horse - listen to what she/he is telling you and tailor to fit their needs.
Be patient - a careful owner will recognize that success does not happen overnight.
And love unconditionally - but realize it does not equate success or define the relationship.
To say that a relationship was built solely on love is nothing more than a Fairy Tale.
Love is built upon a multitude of emotions; including humility, perseverance, willingness, and compassion. All of which we will learn together