What an attitude! That’s what I was thinking after I went down to the barn to see my boys, Jazz and Apollo.
So, I went down to the barn and my boys were in their stalls finishing breakfast. I wanted to let them out and just hang out for a while. Part of my thinking process was that I missed my boys so much I really wanted to see them and play. The other part of my thinking was that I needed to check the fencing and do my maintenance upkeep since I had not been out in about 10 days.
You know how life gets in the way sometimes, between the stay at home orders, the cold weather, the high gusty winds and the rain, plus all the inside chores I needed to do…time seemed to go by too fast and before I realized it had been over a week.
Apollo, as usual, was happy to see me and whinnied a hello the second he saw me, but on no not Jazz. For Jazz, this was a bit unusual as he is normally thrilled to get out and play. Plus, he normally whinnies when he sees me as well. He did stick his head out of the stall to see me, but no hello whiny. The second he saw me he put his head back in the stall.
Well, I let Apollo out who couldn’t give me a hug fast enough and wanted immediate attention and scratches. Then he sauntered off to eat some nearby grass.
I went to Jazz’s stall next to see what was up and he had his head in his feed bucket, still picking at his food. I thought, oh that’s why he didn’t give me the usual “hello” when I first got here.
But no again. As soon as I started to talk to him he turned all the way around with his rear end towards the door and his head in the opposite corner. Then I thought, “is he ok?”. So, I went in to check him out and he seemed fine, except that he wasn’t going to give me the time of day.
He wasn’t being mean, he just ignored me and purposefully was giving me the cold shoulder.
What an attitude!
I tried to go up and scratch his head and neck and talk to him but again, he turned around, picked his head up, and wanted nothing to do with me.
I got the message loud and clear, so I opened his stall gate and let him out. However, instead of coming out, Jazz just stood in his stall with his head away from me.
So, now what?
I had ruled out that he wanted to continue eating breakfast, that he was sick or hurt, so the only thing left was …
It had to be my fault. But what had I done to deserve this treatment?
We hadn’t had any bad dealings, no one new was at the farm working with him, I hadn’t asked him to do anything difficult or something he didn’t want to do, and then it dawned on me.
He was mad at me because I had gone from playing with him and seeing him 3-4 times a week or more to once in the last 10 days. He felt slighted and ignored and he was telling me that he wasn’t too happy about it. I could feel his disappointment and sadness.
He was pouting.
I then felt so bad. My heart hurt thinking that he felt I had done this on purpose or that I had just forgotten him.
I had gotten so caught up with everything else in my world that I had let my relationship with Jazz and Apollo slide. Apollo was happy to see me, but I could still feel his disappointment that I hadn’t been out more.
Jazz wanted me to know he was sad and upset because he felt that he had been ignored. This was his way of showing me what that felt like.
I then sat down on the bench by the barn and verbally apologized to him. I spoke from my heart. The second I had finished he turned around, popped out of his stall, and came right over to give me a hug. I had been forgiven.
Even though all was forgiven, the relationship was still a bit broken. There was now a disconnect that I could see and feel. I had to heal this for his sake as well as mine. Things were not just the same as the last time I was with him.
Things change and relationships change. To have a good, deep, and long-lasting friendship you need to nurture and develop it. Yes, things will change on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis depending on what’s going on, but a real relationship not only takes time, but it takes work.
You need to check in with each other every time you see each other again to reconnect and make sure everything is all well and good. That’s the first thing you do with an old friend you haven’t seen in awhile, right? That’s also the premise behind a “date night” when you’re married…trying to reconnect and keep that spark and good relationship.
Jazz and Apollo and I went out to the best grassy spot I knew and we just hung out together sharing the sunny day, the cool breezes, and the wonder and beauty of the world around us.
And by the time it started getting cooler again and I knew it was time to check on the other horses…Jazz and Apollo were back to their happy selves and snuggling with mommy again. It felt like nothing had ever happened.
What a great feeling of love and connection.
Sometimes we get caught up in other things and we don’t go out to see our horses or spend time with them as much as they, or we, would like. And sometimes our horses get used to our habits or patterns when we see them, which then can lead to disappointment on their side when we change our habits and can’t get out to see them as much.
There is a lot that goes into building and developing a relationship and a friendship with your horse but here are my top 3 suggestions…
Don’t forget to be patient as well. Sometimes you need to take a few steps back in order to move forward.
After I left Jazz and Apollo and I was on cloud 9, I went to say hello to Kit and Danny. Kit was just like Apollo and couldn’t wait to give me snuggles and was thrilled to see me. But Danny acted a bit like Jazz. He whinnied a hello from a distance when he saw me and then acted like, “oops I forgot, I’m mad at her for not coming out in a while”. He then walked away from the fence and totally ignored me.