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Balance for Riders

Expert Richard Jontry, Phd

Questions (For answers, scroll down or click on question)

How can I change my partner (partner’s behavior, attitude, etc.)?
My partner complains about my relationship with my horse(s) -- What should I do?

How does my relationship with my horse affect the other relationships in my life?

My green broken 3 year old filly fears shadows --anything that suddenly jumps at her from the side. Other than repeated exposure to them, how do I convince her that shadows aren't evil?


Questions and Answers

Q: How can I change my partner (partner’s behavior, attitude, etc.)?

A: You can’t. However, if you work on your own issues, identify and let go of your unrealistic expectations; learn to love your partner for who they are, instead of who you want them to be, they will change right before your eyes.

Q: My partner complains about my relationship with my horse(s). What should I do?

A: Sit down and talk to him/her about the importance of your riding to your well being. Listen openly to their complaints. Listen for what is underneath what they are saying. The key is to listen without being defensive or hostile. Let them know you really care about their feelings. Are they feeling abandoned, neglected, unloved? Ask what they need to feel loved or appreciated. If you think you are already doing that, ask what is missing. "What would you need in order to fee appreciated and loved by me as I continue to engage in an activity that is important to me?" You might also consider asking what they would need from you in order to move into a space of supporting you in your riding rather than criticizing it.

Q: How does my relationship with my horse affect the other relationships in my life?

A: Every relationship we are engaged in affects all other relationships. I like the saying…"wherever you go, there you are." We bring our idiosyncratic behaviors, feelings, and reactions, to all of our interactions. If we can work on one, and improve it, that ripples to all other aspects of our life. Many riders speak of feelings of fear, anger, or the need for perfection. If you can work through these feelings with your horse, your other relationships will probably improve. Likewise, if you resolve these (or other) feelings in your human relationships, your riding will probably improve.

Q: My green broken 3 year old filly fears shadows --anything that suddenly jumps at her from the side. Other than repeated exposure to them, how do I convince her that shadows aren't evil? [Editor's note: This is a greatly abbreviated form of the original question and corresponding answer, edited so that it fits our standard Q&A format. However, we believe you would enjoy the original, unedited versions as they cover history, mythology, moral tales and provide a fuller understanding of the problem addressed. Click here to view the full text version.]

A: Aside from riding your green broken filly under a roof all the time, there are other solutions. First, she is clearly not "owning" her own shadow if she is frightened by everyone elses. She does not yet realize that if there were no light, there would be no shadow, and I doubt if you can always ride her in the dark. Therefore, I suggest you bring to her attention the necessity of making friends with her own jumpy shadow, as well as other sudden shadows. Since she seems to really enjoy eating, you might consider having the shadows feed her. In ancient lore feeding monsters is the accepted way of becoming friends with them. Be creative. Attach food to the pesky shadow figures, and they will soon be friends. 


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