One of the most difficult questions every Christmas for horse lovers is what to get for that family member that brings you the most joy, is always there when you need him and understands you better than anyone … No, not your horse clinician, barista or Pilates personal trainer. It is Equus domesticus propios, your horse. This is not to diminish your affection for your hubby or ex-hubby, children, parents or gal pals – but in those relationships it is you who gives the most. You calm their fears, rub their necks, let them cry on your shoulder, lend them your ear and you are always there, a cornerstone in their lives.

But whose shoulder do you cry on? To whom do you tell your deepest secrets? Who never calls you silly, tells you that you snore, never talks back or expects you to be reasonable?

Not your dog, that’s for sure! Dogs are too needy. They think only of themselves. Want a dog to do a trick for you? Feed him. Before or after, he can’t tell the difference.

Need slobbered on? Kneel down and pet him. He’ll lick your glasses off! Expect him to pick up after himself on your walk, in the kennel or in the back yard? Are you kiddin’? You want him to like your new boyfriend but he gets jealous and pees on his slippers.

Cats aren’t much better. They are more like husbands. You pour your heart out to them and they ignore you. For 10 minutes you complain and rant, “… and that’s why my day went so bad,” you finish. Both your cat and your husband look at you the same way when you’re done – blankly.


I know people who have an aquarium, gerbil, parrot, wind chimes or cow to turn to in times when they need comfort and love. But in most cases they might as well talk to a two-by-four. At least the two-by-four doesn’t fidget.

But a horse is the best listener you’ll ever find. You can stand and talk to a horse for 30 minutes and they’ll listen patiently. They maintain eye-to-eye contact. They care.

A horse never questions your ridiculous worries or bad habits or dreamy wishes. You can lean on a horse – try leaning on a cat. Horses take you for a ride.

Sure, a dog will take you for a walk, but it’s not the same. Try stroking a goldfish; try feeding a cow out of your hand; try talking to a parrot whose only vocabulary is “Gimme five, gimme five, gimme five!”

Christmas shopping for a dog is easy: something to chew on. For a cat: something to play with. For a python: something to squeeze.

But a horse would rather that you got something for yourself: new chaps, jodhpurs, a hat, boots, saddle or braided reins. That’s how your horse thinks. He wants you to look good, to feel pretty and to shine.

People could learn a lot from horses. PD