Evening all and I hope you survived or avoided the down-pour we had last night (there was even snow on the hills – this is mid May- what happened to spring???).
If you get the news letter you’d have heard me raving on about my lovely friend Liz and her horses. I’m ‘renting’ the horse above. Liz takes care of the horse and I pay her money to cover those costs and then me, my friends and family get to ‘own’ Aine (pronounced ‘Onya’ and meaning ‘sun’ or ‘golden’) for as long as it works for all parties, Aine included!
I’ve known Liz for years and have seen her do amazing things with my eldest son’s confidence by working with him and a rather beautiful Andalusian stallion. I’ve never been bothered myself really until now.
Recently I’ve been reminded about how tricky intimate relationships can be and how sometimes I feel ill equipped to deal with them. So I’ve had a few moments of wobbles and tears and felt that not only did I want to see Liz who is part of my Soul Family, but I also wanted to see her horses….and so it’s carried on and here I am with Aine.
All I knew was that I wanted to grow up with Aine. She’s 3 and I’m 46. She could live to be 30 and I aim to stay fit and healthy and would like to be around for all of her life (and of course to see my boys into their middle years).
I wasn’t sure what I wanted from Aine, but it seems that she knows what I needed! We went for a walk, with Liz, just up the lanes and the first time we did this, Aine was lovely and well behaved and I thought that I felt able to take her out on her own.
It’s a good job I didn’t because the more I walk with her, the less I know.
My lesson from Aine this week has been about boundaries. As we walked, she gently pushed me over to the side of the road so I was up on the verge and rather squished. Horses are big so it took some pushing to get her back into the road, and then she would simply edge me over again.
When I finally realised what was happening, and it took a while, I told Liz, who instructed me to use my elbows to push Aine away. When this wasn’t enough she showed me how to ‘helicopter’ the lead rein so that if Aine pushed over, she would be knocked on her nose with it.
It felt strange to elbow her out of the way, even though she was in my space…nice girls don’t use their elbows do they? It felt even meaner to have her walk into a ‘helicopter’ of spinning rope.
When she did walk into the rope and get a flip of it across her nose, she dropped her head and her lip which I immediately assumed meant she was sad, but which Liz said was a sign of compliance. Hmm, reflection number one, that I had assumed that setting boundaries would make her sad. But it didn’t and we carried on our way, her in her space and me in mine.
It was only later, at home that I realised what she’d shown me about myself. I struggle to set boundaries in relationships, especially with people I perceive to be more powerful than me and in intimate relationships where I want people to like me and where I don’t want to upset them. I assume that if I set boundaries they will either push harder or not like me or both.
Aine is so big and physically powerful that I noticed her pushing, not immediately (doh!), but sooner than I would notice with a human, simply because her invasion of my space was so physical.
I let humans get into my head space, my heart space, my physical space and my soul space and very often I let them to this without even noticing, let alone consenting and being happy with it.
What I learned with Aine is that boundaries keep us both safe. It didn’t mean she didn’t like me, it just meant we both knew where we stood (literally) more clearly, and so didn’t keep treading on each other and causing pain. So being able to stick my elbows out and keep myself safe actually made for a more positive and enjoyable walk, and hopefully ongoing relationship.
What a wise horse and thank you to Liz.
- How good are you at setting boundaries in your relationships?
- Who do you struggle to set boundaries with?
- What do you assume about setting boundaries? Are these assumptions true? How do you know they’re true? Can you find examples to challenge your assumptions?
- What would be a simple boundary to set which would help you in one of your relationships?
- How will you set it and when?
- Commit to reviewing the effect of setting a boundary and ask yourself which other boundaries you need to set in your life.
I’m still learning this in a big way so will be asking myself the questions daily!
Thanks for reading.