At one time or another, we’ve all been in a crappy relationship or two, or have spotted the signs of a friend whose significant other leaves a something to be desired.

But there’s a chance you’re currently in a bad relationship right now and you can’t even see it.

No, I’m not referring to your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/hairdresser. I’m talking about that all important relationship with your favorite furry friend. Don’t believe me? Read below for the five signs that the relationship between you and your horse has got to change…

1. They’re taking more than they’re giving

Time. Money. Physical or emotional reserve. Your last shred of sanity. Did I mention time? If your horse is sucking all your energy and resources dry, and the most you’re getting in return is the opportunity to tell people about his “unlimited potential,” it’s probably time to talk about expectations and lay down some ground rules. For example, one rule might be that your horse doesn’t get more massage therapy and chiropractic visits than you do.

Horse: “It’s not that I CAN’T do it, it’s just that I don’t want to.”

2. They demonstrate possible psychopathic tendencies

Do you end most of your days at the barn covered in bruises, dirt, and/or open wounds? Are you on a first name basis with the local ER staff? (More importantly, do they know the barn AND the show name of your horse?) If your horse is a recurring source of bodily harm to your person, you might want to consider a different approach. Like maybe just take a grooming day once in a while. Or think about purchasing an air vest. Or even consider hiring a trustworthy trainer for a little boot camp session—the money you’ll spend on training will probably still be much less than those urgent care visits, right?

So innocent… looking. ©Flickr/brokendownlover

3. They encourage isolating behaviors

If you find yourself constantly telling friends “Oh, I can’t make that baby shower/wedding/wine night/funeral” and the reason why you can’t make it weighs a thousand pounds, loves peppermints and is covered in hair, it might be time to dust off the old non-barn boots (or maybe just clean your barn boots thoroughly) and take a night out on the town for yourself. While your horse might seize this opportunity to slice open a limb on the ONE piece of sharp fencing in a hundred-mile radius (not that I’ve ever had this happen), chances are he’ll be fine and your friends will appreciate seeing your bright, shiny and mud-free face. A little distance can be good for a relationship, even one between hay feeder and hay eater.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. (Your heart. Your horse just wants to be fed on time.) ©MaxPower0815/Flickr

4. One word: Gaslighting

I know, I know. It seems REALLY convincing when your horse stands completely rigid, staring into the “spooky” corner of the arena. You’re probably telling yourself, “Maybe this time something scary actually is there!” But I beg of you, listen to reason. You know there’s nothing there. I know there’s nothing there. And believe me, your horse knows there’s nothing there (or at least nothing capable of eating a person or a horse). He’s trying his hardest to convince you otherwise because the more time he spends staring into the corner, the less time you have to go over cavalettis.

Wait. WHAT’S THAT?! ( James)

5. You have a complete infatuation with them

Do you have trouble finding things to talk about with coworkers, other than your horse? Or perhaps you look for any opportunity delight your non-horsey friends with the latest pictures of your pony doing mundane things like eating grass? Do you devote your time, energy and soul to figuring out how you can squeeze just one more hour at the barn, or how you can maybe afford a few more lessons? If these all sound like you, you might be experiencing an unhealthy infatuation with your equine counterpart.

OBSESSED. ©carterse/Flickr CC by 2.0

If you find yourself talking about your horse, thinking about your horse, and planning just about your entire life around your horse, I’ve got bad news: there is absolutely no remedy for this condition. Unfortunately, by falling in love with a four-legged friend, you’ve doomed yourself to an eternity of living, loving, breathing, and dreaming about these big and beautiful critters. Even if there was a way to change it, I have a sneaking suspicion most of us wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now if anyone needs me, I’m off to take a few photos of my pony.

About the Author

When Aubrey Moore isn’t riding her horse Flynn, new pony or doing near-constant maintenance on her truck, she can be found with a glass of wine in hand, chatting happily with her cat Frankie.