This subject is quite interesting to me. Do you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert? Is your horse the same as you, or opposite? If you’ve never considered this particular characteristic of yourself or your horse I encourage you to give it some thought!
As an extreme introvert, I can tell you how it affects my life. I never know what to say to people, small talk feels impossible, large gatherings are very overwhelming, I’m often mistaken for being rude, and well mostly people just exhaust me. Throughout my twenties, I found it easiest to disconnect from people. I did not understand my own feelings regarding people. Happiness was alone time, or so I thought.
Once we were able to have our own horses I realized I was just as shy with them at first as I was with people. The problem is that being shy with horses doesn’t work well. Extroverted horses need leadership to maintain respect. Introverted horses need leadership as reassurance that everything is ok so they can relax. I guess it was time for me to practice leadership!
We teach both people and horses how to treat us by our actions and energy. I practiced leadership skills with the horses and it built my confidence over time. I realized how lonely I had become with working at home and spending a lot of time alone.
Over the last few years I have been riding a lot, watching training videos, taking lessons, helping at horse shows and learning to manage my nerves as I try to compete. I’ve grown in ways I wouldn’t have imagined and made great friends (some introverts and some extroverts) along the way. I’m still introverted but I don’t feel alone. Stretching your comfort zone is hard work but SO WORTH IT!
For all of you extroverts…stay tuned for an extrovert post from Ali!