Couples’ therapy, & being a little bit of a badass

I just got reacquainted with fear, something I’ve spent a good part of my adult life trying to conquer…see, I was brought up to be scared of getting hurt. Which is why I think I’ve ended up doing things like horseback riding and skiing as an adult. It’s some part of my subconscious working out the need to prove that I’m not scared and that I’m a badass. Well, I’d settle for being just a little bit of a badass.

I’ve worked through it in increments. It’s actually been awhile since I’ve been scared by a horse. But today, my equine Dude and I just weren’t getting along. Like everyone else, we both have our issues. One of his is not wanting to be away from the herd, so he gets mad when I make him go out with just me. Sort of like an old boyfriend in high school that couldn’t be away from his guys. And when he gets mad, I get nervous. Then we both are on high alert. So, this is one of the things we must work on, together. It’s good for us and our relationship – every couple needs alone time, right? But today, Dude was not having it. As I cantered him out in the field, he decided to amp it up and try to make a run for it back to his buddies…like I wouldn’t notice. My brain went into panic mode as I worked to get 1,200 lbs. of movement and muscle to slow the hell down. I’ve learned to love speed on horseback, but it took a long time to feel safe with it. This was taking me back to the bad old days. FEAR was flashing red hot.
And then I got mad. A little anger is sometimes good for a relationship, when expressed constructively. I hauled that horse around and got him to listen to me (badass!). It was one of two choices – let him be the boss, or assert myself as boss. Fear subsided as I took charge (wait – would this work with husband, I wonder?).
And then I relaxed. He relaxed. The adrenaline rush was over, and we both breathed deeply and let it all go. I even apologized (though I probably shouldn’t have). It was some sort of horse-human couples’ therapy. Horses have taught me a lot about communication and expressing my emotions (including the not-so-attractive ones), and learning how to work through them constructively. And after all, isn’t making up after a fight the best part?
Photo of me and my Dude Boy by Larry Stanley