My Love Affair With a Chestnut Mare

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Drew Palmer and his red-head. Photo by Jeff Webb.

Relationships are hard. If that were not the case then there would be no need for the endless advice from every father/mother/sister/brother and their dog about how to survive one. That being said, I have found the best advice for making things work with a woman came not from a counselor, a guide or a magazine that boasts such secrets but through my own (rather complicated) relationship with a chestnut mare.

Let’s begin with how all great relationships start and the trap enticement of “love at first sight.” There’s no denying that few things can catch your gaze like a brilliant chestnut mare, but if you have to grossly exaggerate your skills (even to yourself), chances are that you are gonna be in over your head. But hey — what guy doesn’t aim a bit out of his league, so if you’re going for it, go all in. 

The first impression means a lot, but if the second impression is that “spin and bolt” move, you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself when you’re six months in and still trying to ride it out and all you can think about is that lovely trot that hooked you and how the heck did you end up here. Honesty goes a long way in such instances, especially to yourself, so don’t think that just because you sat the first one-eighty spin that “you’ve got this.” If there’s ever gonna be a time for an unplanned dismount, this would be it!

But if you think you’ve got what it takes, read on.

I distinctly remember saying to myself “trust her, even if it kills you.” This of course was on a brisk day just approaching one year together when we finally attempted to stretch at the trot. Tension had been building for some time and desperate times call for desperate actions. I don’t care what kind of man you think you are, at some point risking your life in trust is a better option than having every move provoke retaliation from an estrogen-filled war machine originally developed to carry men into battle. You don’t have to think hard to imagine the implications in a relationship.

Which leads nicely into my next point. She can make you look like a champion or she can make a fool of you in a hurry — in all situations adjust your attitude accordingly. A little humility and some affection can go a long way. Tact is a valuable resource. Am I the only one that senses the parallel when a judge comments “Lovely horse! Work to improve harmony, effectiveness, communication, freedom, engagement” and all things any marginally proficient rider would have mastered before entering the arena. Those are #relationshipgoals.

There are two opinions about everything — your opinion and the opinion you will be following regardless of the circumstances. So let me reiterate: In all situations adjust your attitude accordingly. Why expend so much energy trying to make your point anyway?

When spending quality time together, it is best to throw out your own agenda. Leave your expectations at the mounting block and just enjoy the ride. I will admit that this is a work in progress, yet to be mastered. The advice is valuable nonetheless.

Lastly and quite importantly — there is a very fine line between brilliant and bat-sh*t crazy. It is best not to devote too much time trying to determine which side of that line you are riding.

About the author: Drew Palmer, 33, is a professional rider from non-horse country in Alabama. Introspective so you would have to ask about character defining qualities from those who know me, otherwise I may overwhelm you with useless information. Taking a crack at writing so forgive grammatical errors. I’ve been out of school a while.