The feistiest horse in my barn stands level to my knees.
Last week, I was preparing the horses’ dinner, allowing my mind to settle into the tranquil state of being around my wonderful equine family. I carefully measured out grains and supplements, each meal individually tailored to the needs of our varied herd. I stood up with a full arm load, ready to lovingly feed the awaiting, hungry beasts. Quickly turning the door handle, I started to walk out of the room when CLUNK! The pail I was holding bumped into the door, and not quite understanding what just happened I went to open the door again. CLUNK! No, I thought, no it couldn’t be! But that is exactly what happened: I was locked in.
Spring, our miniature horse, lives in the large “run in” area of the barn where she can touch noses with all the other horses. This space is also adjoining the feed room, where there is a bolt lock on the outside of the steel door, ensuring the horses stay out. Spring had managed to slide the bolt shut, which apparently can also keep me in.
I was in disbelief and momentary panic – I had never considered this possibility! In all my safety planning for the horses’ welfare, I hadn’t considered my own. Thankfully realizing I had my phone in my pocket, I was able to call for help and explained my situation through tears of laughter.
Still giggling to myself, and with nothing to do until I was released, I began thinking about my captor, Spring.
Everyone’s reaction when first meeting her is to gush at how adorable she is, and I can’t help but do the same even after she’s been living with me for a few months. That being said, I have to be very careful not to let her incredibly cute and petite physique influence how I actually behave with her.
Many minis end up being some of the worst behaved horses in a barn. People usually get caught in one of two traps, sometimes both. The first is being mini-brainwashed. The “aw, they’re so cute” reaction blinds us to see when they are actually being dominant or aggressive. In turn, the minis learn that they are completely in charge and become increasingly challenging to work with (this includes getting their feet done: a mini nightmare!). The second trap is using our larger size as humans to bully them. I’ve been told by more than one client that a miniature doesn’t need any training since you can always make them do what you want.
I can relate to being small. I remember being a child and the feeling of not being taken seriously, of being bullied myself. So many people can have a feeling of superiority simply because of age and size. Children need boundaries and guidance, absolutely, but given with respect. I remember how some big people would give orders and talk down in condescending ways; it made me want to scream. I couldn’t wait to grow up.
As an adult, this still happens of course, but to a lesser degree. I have more tools in my social tool box, and I can stand much closer to a bully’s eye level.
But for the miniature horse in my barn, she will never get to be grown up in the eyes of most who look at her. She will constantly have to show us, with her incredibly strong sense of self, who we are really dealing with. Perhaps inadvertently, she was forcing me to see it while I was locked in the feed room.
Eventually, my husband made it down to the barn to free me, and I was greeted by a sassy Spring, impatient to get her dinner.
Watching Spring embody a confidence that horses ten times her size would never dream of, gives me a surge of energy as well. No matter the size of the obstacle ahead of me, human, horse, or life challenge, I picture Spring and am empowered with the truth of the “small but mighty”.
How do you perceive others? How do others perceive you? Would love to know, leave me a comment.
This is part of a continuing story, click here to start from the beginning.
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