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What I learned from horses, cats and dogs about love! Partnerships that work! #horselovers #RelationshipGoals

What I Learned from Horses, Dogs and Cats About Love

I love animals of all types and have been fortunate to have many of them in my life. I’ve owned horses, dogs and cats and the occasional bird. I ran a holistic horse board and care facility. I even once interviewed to be a “princess” in a reptile competition! (Talk about dredging up old memories!)

Currently, the menagerie consists of one horse—my “dream boy,” Bazan—and two cats, Milo the Magnificent and our Buddha cat, Pye (short for Pyewacket, the name of a mystical cat in the movie “Bell, Book and Candle”—another stroll down Memory Lane).

Bazan, my angel, my  friend, my partner!  Ain’t he cute?!


If you’ve ever tried to firmly hold a cat on your lap, or tightly wrapped yourself around a dog to keep him close, you will understand that these tactics soon wear thin on the animals you seek to embrace. And if you think this is challenging with cats and dogs, try it with a thousand-pound horse! Whoa Nelly!

The Natural Horsemanship movement, regardless of the trainer (there are many good ones), is based on the notion that man and horse do better in a partnership of respect, communication, freedom of choice and the realities of what each requires of the other. I have seen truly amazing things occur when this partnership unfolds: confidence, safety and enjoyment for both parties.

I’ve done some horse training and one of the drills we’re taught is called “Approach and Retreat.” By nature, horses are prey animals (seen as food by predator animals). Their main defense is flight;  when they feel uncomfortable or fearful, they will run away. I don’t want my horse partner to run away when he sees me (especially when he’s on 10-acre pasture); in fact, I want him to want to come to me, which he does. He is truly my partner!

While people are not usually instinctively fearful of other people (unless they live in certain countries or they’re watching mainstream news all day), they don’t like being smothered either! Too much “approach,” and too much “in your face” pretty much guarantees that the person you’re trying so hard to have like you, will flee and run way from your physical and/or emotional clutches!

If you want someone to consider you as love material, you’ve got to balance your desire and your reach with allowing that person to reach for and approach you. And sometimes that means YOU have got to be the one to retreat FIRST after making an overture, to allow that person to make an advance toward you.

I know, it takes restraint and discipline even when you’re certain that if you don’t continue to advance, the person will disappear and all will be lost. The person may never reach for you in response to your reach, but if that’s the case, so be it. Move on; find someone who genuinely wants to get to know you.

When we’re desperate, we sometimes do things that aren’t the best things to do. Desperation is a neon sign that drives people away from us, even when we’re wonderful, amazing and good people. That’s a subject for another post (desperation). But in the meantime, please be kind to yourself and to others. Definitely communicate, but be willing for the other person to approach and communicate with you.

Bottom line: Don’t smother! With people or with animals!

Yours in Love,


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