Do You Have a One-Person Horse? Or Dog? Or Cat?

kissing horseThe larger question is whether animals CAN be “one-person” individuals. And yes, of course they can. They come in as many different personality types as we do,  so why should they be any different?

I just spoke to an aging show jumper — “Cinder” (to protect anonymity) — to see if the work was getting a little too difficult for her. Her person — we’ll call her “Jamie” — is eager not to overface her. Plus, they have been together for 13 years (the horse is 19), and Jamie refers to Cinder as her “beloved,” so she very much wants and respects her input on such important questions.

The answer from Cinder was that yes, the work is a bit much for her older body and joints at this point, so Jamie will now tailor their riding and working time together appropriately.

But the interesting aspect of this session was how absolutely devoted Cinder is to Jamie. And only to Jamie.

Years and years ago, before Jamie finally decided to buy Cinder, she consulted a well known Native American animal communicator on the West Coast, by the name of Fred. (Fred is no longer with us, but those who had the good fortune of having him talk to their animals have never forgotten him.) At the time Cinder told Fred she hated all humans, but she was married to Jamie!

These days Cinder tells me that being with Jamie for 13 years has really opened her heart, so she is just fine with other people and, in fact, likes many of the staff at her barn. But she is still, positively, absolutely, a one-person horse, and her person is Jamie.

Madalyn Ward, D.V.M., has written a fascinating book about horse personality types, Horse Harmony – Understanding Horse Types and Temperaments . . . Are You and Your Horse a Good Match?, which talks a lot about how some types will work for only one person, or must have the respect of their person in order to cooperate, or become very depressed or ill if separated from their person. Some people seem to be surprised by this, I guess wondering how a horse could have such emotions that many attribute only to humans.

But we horse lovers and dog lovers and cat lovers and bird lovers understand. Our domesticated friends come in as many different personalities as we do, so it is best never to underestimate them or make a judgment call about what they are feeling unless you really understand them.

Of course there is the opposite personality type as well — the one who could kinda care less what you think and is not at all dependent upon your love and support to enjoy his or her life.

The important point here is perhaps that, since it has fairly well been proven that this wide variance of personalities does exist amongst our furry friends, be absolutely SURE you are teaming up with the right type for your own personality, your lifestyle, and your needs.

As for me, I happen to love the one-person type, and have more than one animal like this, amongst them my beautiful Mustang mare, Bella. In this case it pays. She will do anything she can to please me. But have someone else who she doesn’t know or respect ask her to do something special and she’ll go into a big sull — or buck them off!

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