I suppose Valentine's Day is a good as any to talk about give and take. I've often thought that there are people who are mainly givers or mainly takers in life and I hope that I am very much a giver. I'm generous with my time with the people and horses I work with, with the organisation that I represent, and my friends. The people that become my fast friends - like the two Jenny's, Julie, Sally, Lindy, and now, Theresa, are all very much givers too and I hope it's a two way thing. Givers make you want to give more. Of course my husband David does nothing but give, give, give when it comes to me and I can never quite believe my good fortune in finding him - if there is a God, and you can decide, David was sent by him or her. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to give him enough back.
But have you met a taker? Someone who pushes their luck, takes up more of your time, drains your energy and just takes, takes, takes? I've never really known where to draw a line and so the typical scenario (which has NOT happened recently so I'm not pointing at anyone here) is that I fail to set boundaries in the first place, note with mild amusement that they are taking a mile, and then suddenly they'll hit my resentment button. There's something in me, a transparency, where people can tell that I've had enough but, having no insight into their own behaviour and how much they have taken, they think it's me that has started the war!
How often does this happen to horses I wonder, where they give, give, give, because that's the way they are and it all gets taken for granted? They may be hinting through their body language that they don;t appreciate this but it is only when the resentment button is finally depressed that they escalate their behaviour and say "no!". Then they almost get blamed for their good qualities because if they are good at most things then they ought to be good at everything else. We can't live our lives like Eastenders around horses, blurting everything out and crashing into one crisis after another; we can't rush around being efficient and oblivious to our horses feelings. We need to be present and pleasant and to notice how much they give, give, give and make sure that we give, give, give back. And of course in this situation, money,cards and flowers (pretty head-collars, nameplates and more stuff) just won't cut it. We need to connect with them emotionally.