I am blessed to have the opportunity to study and observe horses that live in community with one another. Strangely, by studying the special bond that horses share, I have become a better human. Horses have an innate ability to show other horses and people how they present themselves (the good, the bad, and the ugly) in a subtle yet effective manner.  

As the consummate animal lover, I've never met a horse that I didn't like.... until I met Bella! There are so many ways to describe Bella but her name says it all. Bella means beautiful and beautiful she is. There are, however, many different forms of beauty. Although Bella clearly possesses physical beauty, I wasn't convinced she had "inner" beauty; hence the nickname Bad Baby Bella. Any interaction with Bella seemed to be a source of agitation for me. I was frustrated by her behavior when I took her from the stall to the pasture. I was frustrated by her behavior at clinics while others delighted in her antics. I was frustrated by the fact that she constantly bit me. Honestly, I was frustrated by just about everything Bella did. I couldn't understand why everyone else loved Bella and thought she was so unique and special. Furthermore, I didn't know why I allowed Bella to elicit all this negativity from me. She really pushed my buttons and I knew that something needed to change. As an animal lover it was hard for me to admit but I finally realized that I did not have a bond with Bella. To be perfectly honest, I really didn't like her very much. I started to spend time with Bella with the clear vision that I needed to accept her just the way she is without any desire to change her or her behavior. I took a break from trying to train Bella and spent seven months just sharing territory with her. During this time, an amazing transformation took place. I began to like Bella. My appreciation of Bella has grown tremendously and now I absolutely love her.

What caused this transformation? I can answer that question with one word, "Acceptance." As my focus shifted away from Bella's "negative" traits, I learned one of life's greatest lessons. Bella simply served as a mirror for traits that we both shared. Through Bella, I saw parts of myself that were not appealing. What an eye opening experience! I would not have developed this insight if it were not for Bella.

All of my horses have taught me wonderful lessons concerning how to be a better person. They have taught me to be present in the moment, not to address resistance, to accept things as they are, to take pauses in life, to problem solve, to use better body language when communicating, to be an effective leader, etc. The list goes on and on. I apply these lesson to my human relationships as well. I'm sure that my equine partners will continue to provide even greater lessons as this journey of life continues to unfold.

Have a great rest of the week as we all remain students of the horse! Linda