Horse Sense

My darling daughters. How do you choose your boyfriends? Or how does anybody choose anybody for that matter.

As a father I’ve been wondering how to broach this delicate subject with you for a while.

Some of my friends think I should leave well alone and one even became quite abusive about it! The resurgant bile of a  Catholic upbringing  perhaps. Apparently I’m touching a sensitive spot. All for the better I hope.
The analogy of the horse:

There are two factors to manage  : the rational and the emotional.

Lets call them the rider and the horse. The rider decides. The horse reacts. If you don’t control your horse it will do whatever it feels like. Sometimes with funny results.  When I was a child in Ireland my mother paid for riding lessons for me. A basic skill for a gentleman. I enjoyed them. Later I went riding with groups. That is where the fun started. I would let my horse enjoy himself. Eat grass when he wanted etcetera. One day the horse ate grass. The group moved on . Suddenly the horse realised he had fallen behind and galloped off to join his friends with me hanging on for dear life! Ever since I’ve been wary of horses.


Your desires and feelings are like your horse. Combined they make a marvellous beast but you need to direct them for maximum results.

Don’t let your horse run away with you.

Here is a map to help you. It covers four quadrants, your needs, your desires, the enjoyment you get and the reliability you expect. Reliability is not asked for. It is measured and evaluated. Use your head!



The top part matches first meetings . The bottom part covers the ongoing experience. To make a good choice you need to have an eye on both.
In places like India , where they have arranged marriages, choice is concentrated on the left side of the quadrant – need and reliability.
In Europe we think that feelings and desire are of paramount importance.

Enjoy yourselves but keep your horse on the right path.  Living with someone should not be a lottery. Choose.

The horse analogy was given me by Alan Stacey, an excellent life coach. He tells a similar story about horses and childhood. I guess it’s par for the course.

The map of the heart and the comments are drawn from Guy Browning’s “Innervation – redesign yourself for a smarter future”