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  • Writer's pictureJessica Klarholm

How a Horse Taught Me To Set Personal Boundaries

There was a time when a particular sorrel horse ruled my personal space. I thought it was an issue with him because I didn’t have any other horses totally disregarding my personal bubble… just him. ‘He’s young. He doesn’t know better. He’s scared. He’s relying on me. He, He, He, He’… the list of reasons was long.

But the truth was: It was not the horse’s fault that he was practically walking over me… it was mine. It was my responsibility to set my personal space boundaries and to communicate them to him. I had to cut through the excuses and take ownership of my own space. This revelation applied to much more than my barn time… I had been shrinking as a person for some time. Taking up less space emotionally and physically so as not to make ripples. This horse noticed. This horse was demonstrating to me just how far I was allowing people to push my boundaries.

It took a thousand pound animal threatening my physical safety for me to realize the predicament I was allowing myself to be in. I started showing up to the barn with more presence, physically and mentally. I started re-defining my personal bubble with this horse. You see, with horses, body language speaks volumes which encouraged me to pay attention to my posture and the space I was holding. It was more than okay for me to take up space, in fact it was necessary. Practicing presence in the barn helped me also take up space in the people world, which is also more than okay. This will be a life-long work-in-progress for me and I am grateful that a horse helped me recognize that I need to protect my personal boundaries, and that it’s necessary.

Thank you for the lesson, Louie.

“You get what you tolerate.” – Henry Cloud
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