horse/human and human/human relationships

It was a beautiful spring day when I made this video.

I talk about the connection between horses and people and people and people.

It’s a rich topic because connection is such a basic and strong drive for horses and humans. Over the past few years, I’ve learned much about both types of relationships.

I’m currently working on an insightful and moving project about human-human relationships. You’re invited to join me. There’s lots of good stuff!

On a different note, Nic is once again quite the character in the video. He makes me laugh—laughter is the best!

Join us in the Sharing Journal Project

This is the piece I wrote on the Sharing Journal website:

similarities, differences, and a few perspectives

As I read through the stories you so graciously shared, I had all kinds of experiences!

Sharing the richness of heartfelt and vulnerable connections made me appreciate that I can go through anything with those who stand by me, and I felt a swell of incredible gratitude for them in my life.

The uncomfortable relationships brought up anything from feeling slightly awkward to excruciating memories.

I also gained some clarity that sums up my perspectives on relationships. Let me know if you can relate.

Here are a few of the things we crave.

Easy conversation. Friendliness. Quick to laugh.

We want to be seen and acknowledged. A smile, eye contact, or a thumbs-up does the trick.

When we’re in a lesson, it feels great when the mentor acknowledges our strengths and addresses our needs from their viewpoint – and ours.

We love warmth, encouragement, and people we can be ourselves with.

Camaraderie and fun! Yeah, baby!

Authenticity – pardon my French, but no bull shit – or as they say in the French language, ‘merde de taudeau.’

We want to be cared about for who we are—not for how we ride, whether we win, or the horse we have or don’t have.

Here are some things that can be anything from awkward to painful.


We feel invisible. Someone walks past us, and if they say ‘hi,’ they don’t make eye contact and keep walking.

We don’t get included in the group’s evening dinner plans.

Someone we thought was a dear or trusted friend suddenly started acting differently. We don’t know why, and we never did find out. We have no way of understanding.

Things were said about us that wasn’t true.

We feel we don’t fit in. We can’t get with the vibe of a group.

Our mentor seems to have favorites – or biases – and we’re not at the top of the list.

We move to a new area and don’t know how to find ‘our people.’

Some perspectives – see if you relate to these.

Relationships are complex. Boy, howdy!

We’ve got our ‘stuff,’ and other people have their baggage, too. We can never sort all that out, and it’s not our job.

While we can’t control others (even though we may want to—LOL), we do want to find our way to peace within ourselves through the awkwardness or pain and let go of the yucky feelings we keep lugging around.

We want to navigate our relationships in healthy ways for all concerned.

We don’t expect them to be perfect. But we do want to grow, gain more clarity, find ways to walk through the mire, make good choices, and then feel settled.

The best part of all is that we cherish (with our whole being) those who are by us and truly in our corner, whatever may come. They are our soul brothers and sisters.

We are eternally grateful they’re in our lives. These family, friends, and mentors are our most incredible wealth. They stand with us, accept and strengthen us, and we do the same for them.

One of my favorite quotes (although I don’t know who wrote it) is, “We are all just walking each other home.” I believe this is true for the beautiful and difficult relationships in our lives.

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5 Comments on horse/human and human/human relationships

  1. Christine Marken on Mon, 1st Apr 2024 9:55 am
  2. Wow! All of what you said above hits home with me. And I find relationships get harder and harder to navigate and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because life seems to be getting harder for all of us. We all have a lot of stress in our lives and we’re just trying to make it one day at a time and hopefully share a little laughter along the way. There’s a group of “older” women who get together on Sundays at the ranch where I keep my horse and we have a glass of orange juice and champagne and a little something to eat and then we tootle around, go out on trail and then do a trail course and work on some maneuvers. It’s a day of fun with friends and horses and I look forward to that. It’s a time of friendship and laughter and horses (most important is the horses). But it’s nice to know that there are others out there who also have a hard time navigating relationships and we’re not alone. Thanks Barb!

  3. Rachel Stafford on Mon, 1st Apr 2024 11:39 am
  4. I have a difficult time navigating relationships, especially in the current climate in our country, even with my closest family. So now I tend to keep everything I’m feeling inside until I go talk to my horse. No judgement there and unconditional love. My animals will be what saves my sanity. Thank you for what you wrote. I have found that in getting older, life just gets harder and more complicated. It’s good to have a place to read and vent.

  5. Roberta Rollins on Tue, 2nd Apr 2024 8:31 pm
  6. Recently I sold the love of my life, Countin Checks, mare, to a youth who needed a good horse to show. Happy to have done that, however, I really miss having her to love and be loved back by.
    This human horse relationship is so necessary for emotional wellness in a lot of our lives, especially in mine. Looking for another horse who fills my soul and I her’s.

  7. Claire on Fri, 5th Apr 2024 12:54 pm
  8. I think that quote may have been a Ram Dass Quote Barb-but don’t quote me! 🙂 relationships can be complicated.Goodo for anybody tackling them with kindness, patience, and learned boundaries!

  9. Carol MacGregor on Fri, 5th Apr 2024 7:44 pm
  10. I appreciate how honest and vulnerable people are in expressing their true feelings about relationships, both good and difficult. Helps to know we all have struggles in these areas, but yet we can and do have people around us that we can trust and rely on in both good and hard times. And of course there are the horses, and both the fun and work they bring to our lives–I just cleaned four stalls and it snowed here yesterday which it never does!!!

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