Remember Three's Company? Oh come on now you GenX-ers! Jack, Chrissy, and Janet?! Well, let's modernize the scenario a bit with two males and showcase the female lead instead. In fact, let's do a reboot and shift from humans to horses. Got it?!? Ready?
Lights! Camera! Action!
A few months ago we moved our family horse (Minnie) to a new barn for boarding. Just about a half-mile up the road from her previous longtime abode, her new home offered promise of larger living space in a more quaint environment.
The very thing that was seemingly lost, was actually abundantly gained - space.
Minnie's stall at her previous location was sufficient. A small flat carpeted in Earth and remnants of hay. A partially shaded area from the overhang provided shade and shelter if required, but it was the landscape that showcased this particular property.
The vista was the type of scenery from which postcards are made (especially the "Wish You Were Here" kind).
The days were magnificent; dawn and dusk provided images that invoked sights that seemed untouched and surreal. As the light caressed the hill sides and shone through the trees, both Minnie and I could just lie down without requiring much else.
For Minnie though, it was a different story. In her stall she was relatively far from her closest neighbor and really didn't spend much time with others. Her paddock was about 15-feet away from the closest resident. It may seem like a short distance, but for animals that are social (like people), much is lost in those 180-inches. In fact, one could say it is a 180-degree change.
A few months ago when Minnie relocated, she found herself a stall in-between two strapping males; a previous friend Charlie, and a new companion Indie.
As these two able lads vied for her interest - one from each side - incredible changes began taking place near instantly. Comparable to dropping an elementary school child at their friend's home, an increased sense of warmth and playfulness immediately returned. Longing had shifted into belonging.
Within the first month, her eating habits inverted to a healthier pattern, and weight that was lost returned. It was evident to see the social aspect of her friendships and the impact on her demeanor. Her self-esteem increased. It was a return to innocence.
Humans are social. Horses are social. Reference a pack, pride, pod, herd or family; mammals are designed to be in loving and supportive groups. When one is isolated or emotionally distanced (even emotionally - not just physically), the effects can be powerful... but so is the awareness and inclusion of inviting and offering love and support... whether a horse or human.
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